Slice of Life: Making Music Again

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective  …  You write, too.)

My band, minus a permanent lead singer (we’re in the process of auditioning some new folks), played out live for the first time the other day at a neighborhood Block Party, and while the weather was hot and the audience rather sparse, we had a blast on the lawn, and remembered again — after a long stretch of only playing for ourselves — the joy of making music for others.

That’s me on saxophone. We invited a friend to sing lead on this James Brown song.

Peace (play it),
Kevin

It’s Been A Long Time Since I’ve Rock and Rolled

Sold Out band

Later today, at a neighborhood block party, my bandmates and I will perform for a live audience for the first time in about four years. (I play saxophone). It’s exciting and nerve-wracking — mostly because our lead singer left the band a few weeks ago and myself and the bass player are taking over lead vocals, and neither of us is really a lead vocalist that can carry a band for extended periods of time. So we’ve divided up the task. We’ve also invited a friend to sit in and sing on a few songs.

Despite the nervous energy (will I remember all of the lyrics?) this morning, having an opportunity to move our sound from the basement to the stage (eh, the village lawn) on a beautiful day with a receptive audience is a great way to come out of the Pandemic Blues that sidelines so many musicians. There’s a whole level of energy from playing live with a band that is hard to explain.

We’ve recently gone back to an old band name — Duke Rushmore — and are looking for a singer so we can start playing out again on a regular basis. Wish us luck!

Peace (turn it up!),
Kevin

Poem: Straggler Flowers

Straggler FlowerWe took my wife to a Mother’s Day flower show held at an estate out in the Berkshires on Sunday and it was beautiful. Most of the flowers had been just days into a Spring Bloom, and the estate – owned by a conservation agency that we are members of — is well maintained. There were tens of thousands of bulbs all over the grounds. We had a lovely time.

What caught our attention most, though, were the stragglers, the flowers who were rooted in places they weren’t planted, and I won’t say, didn’t belong, but that were confidently out of place with the rest of the plantings around them. Either moved by animal or insect — or who knows, human hand — these flowers provided a nice visual contrast.

So, when, over at Mastodon, where I have been taking part in writing poems to a “word of the day” was “wild,” my mind immediately went back to those little scenes of wildness in an otherwise planned flower experience, and the poem above is what I wrote.

And it reminded me to remember my students, too, and to celebrate the ones who think different, who diverge from the assignments, who question whatever it is that we are doing and why, who ask to change direction, who don’t ask to change direction but just go ahead, who find a thread and just pull it to watch it unwind, who would rather be a daisy among tulips than just another tulip.

Peace (planted and in bloom),
Kevin

Poem: Listening In As The Black Hole Sings

This poem was inspired by an audio file released by NASA, capturing the sound of a black hole in the Perseus Galaxy Cluster. I found the sound fascinating and the poem just sort of emerged, and it felt right that the poem should be visual, with the NASA audio in the background.

Peace (in the deep),
Kevin

Poetry: Whole Notes Linger

Whole Notes Linger

I’ve been writing poems, using daily single word prompts over at Mastodon. For this one, the word was “whole” and I often gravitate to music and writing as common themes across my writing.

Peace (listening in),
Kevin

Book Review: Bibliophile (Diverse Spines)

Any book, about books, that introduces me to a wider possibility of stories and selections is always something I am interested in. Add art, and I’m hooked. For Bibliophile: Diverse Spines, Jamie Harper and Jane Mount gather and feature a breathtaking collection of books of all genres — fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books, etc. And as the subtitle suggests, the focus is on diverse stories and diverse authors and illustrators.

There were many books and writers I had not yet encountered, and I dogeared a few pages in my book, to go back to remind myself of the discoveries when I am needing something new to read. Even just flipping through this collection, it’s a joy to see a celebration of books and covers, with snippets of insights from Harper and Mount on every page.

And if you like this one, be sure to check out Jane Mount’s last collection, just entitled Bibliophile. Like this newest one, it is also a visual feast and celebration of books of all sorts.

Peace (in the spines),
Kevin