dimanche 28 juin 2009

Evitez le Purcell!

de "The Faery Queen" par Purcell: "Yes, it's true! I am a scurly poet!" Ma réponse: If only...

Si vous allez au festival,
évitez le Purcell!
"La Reine féerique"
qu'ils ont mal choisie
ne fait qu'une nuit d'ennui!

C'est le prochain jour
et je ne vais pas mieux!
La tête a tant de mal et
encore mes yeux brûlent:
il reste un bruit aigu!

Les "étoiles" moyennes
ont chanté leurs coeurs
soutenues d'un grand choeur.
Mais quelle musique ennuyeuse!
Henry a besoin d'une nouvelle muse!

Mais ce n'est pas elle
La reine de la forêt
ni tous ses petits anges, les filles-fées
ni son beau garçon caché dans ses robes
qui dormait jusqu'à l'aube!

Non, l'âne est le bien aimé:
Purcell lui a fait apparaît
de "Le Songe d'une nuit d'été"
approprié pour sa conte de fée
mais sans raison ni bon effet

Sans passion sans magique
et la pauvre reine ronde
Qui lit de son texte malsain
pour faire avancer la narration
mais pas (pour l'écrivain) de l'absolution!

Ce n'est pas un conte de fée,
ni une belle nuit baroque en été:
c'est l'enfer pour nous les enfants
qui aiment tellement la chanson
nous les pauvres cons (et nos dollars)!

Si vous allez au festival
évitez le Purcell!
Mais si vous vous ignorez ce conseil
N'oubliez pas d'y apporter
vos bouchons d'oreilles

afin de vous sauver!

dimanche 21 juin 2009

eh-very dog has his day

may be sung to the melody of "eh-very dog has his day"...

how much can i take things for granted
how much can i piddle away
how often i say i am blessèd
before eh-very dog eh-very dog
eh-very dog has his day

i move in molecular motion
i'm going around and around
i'm singing à table for my supper
just like eh-very dog eh-very dog
eh-very dog on the ground

tiny toes tiny bones
tiny splinters in tiny souls
tiny eyes tiny tails
waking the master with slaughter

my tongue is so rigid
it finds all the crevasses
i wake in the water
i sing to the slaughter
i am just a dog, a poor lonely dog
i wander the world with my tail
'tween my legs and i rest
'til i can sing again

and i wake in the water
i dance on the moon
i sing for my supper
i don't take no orders
from any-one

i'm a dog for you
and a dog for me
i've got fleas and
lots of gangrene
i'm just a mangy old mutt on the line
singing for pieces of salty brine and
i know that i can't take it with me again
but i know that i might and i try anyway

how much can i take things for granted
how much i can i piddle away
how often i say i am blessèd
before eh-very dog, eh-very dog,
eh-very dog has his day... yesss
eh-very dog has his day... yesss

every doggie every hound
every mealy mouthed chihuaha in town
and the poodles do beg
on their little hind legs
and i say it's a tiny
a tiny world again

tiny toes tiny bones
tiny splinters in tiny souls
tiny eyes tiny tails
waking the master with slaughter

i move in molecular motion... ho ho
i'm going around and aroun... dah
i'm singing à table for my supper
just like eh-very dog, eh-very dog
eh-very dog on the groun... dah

Welcome to Fassbinder House

Scene from "The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant"

i step up to the house,
looking for signals:
i stop at the mailbox
and sort through the mail;
tall tales, tall egos, big bills.

each envelope reaches out
and slaps me on the mouth,
'cause it's that time of month
and i'm no fucking martyr:
i'm verbal as a banshee
and i'm drunk and i'm angry.

it's that idiotic syntax
'twixt narcissus in the pond
and the god in the mirror,
as we search our photographs
for verboten passions, and
just as quickly gone,
nothing but façade,
as we're lost to all
sense of who we are.
(we’re mostly frauds.)

i'm sick of word spies and
envious eyes, free-market hype,
and i'm sick of all those who say

say "real" when what they really
mean is "kneel", as they
mount the backs of peasant
farmers, four-square

pilgrims and vapid virgins
(and count me in amongst them).

i'm no longer willing to be
the black lamb tied to sacrifice
lying in wait for the 10-inch knife:
when unworldliness seizes
upon my being, and when, like
stars falling fast, the universe
bends and takes me down with it:

this four-story golden house
in a rural wilderness, and all
the sorry residents who
dwell within it, who want
nothing more than to be one
of those stars, falling or not,
and i want none of it, whether
you believe it or not.

i want to be anonymous.
i want an attic and a stack
of last year's novels––god, make
them classics!––and a bit of typing
stock and a good black marker
and an ink-stain eraser
(for the soul and the paper).

take with you all the fame
and fortune, take it from
the small trough at the edge
of the animal farm;

afterall, it's still swine food
no matter how hard you
believe it's filet mignon,
and all the flailing poets
writing their broken songs,
they're desperate to belong.
(what i remember is dilapidation.)

i want a door and big
sign that reads: welcome to
fassbinder house, put on
your rags of despair and
don your black makeup,
simulate a person,
claim to be a god and
then hide your face in the
effacement of it all.
(my butt, intones the universe,
one more thin thread from
a sack cloth and hair shirt.)

fassbinder said
it ain’t worth shit, and
i tend to believe him because
he showed with visuals and broads
how cold this world is
if anyone of us dare fly
too high, too hard, too free:
we fail, we fall, we
wind up alone on a toilet
or as a ridiculous queen
drinking bitter tears
mixed with malt liquor.

welcome to the animal
farm, welcome to the
caveman in the attic, and
welcome and welcome to
the newcomers and
old timers, welcome new
stars and old, welcome
bright gods and dull horses:

i throw salt over my
shoulder and shrug off
the cold of the animal,
the shrill, yet empty heart
and the unyielding will to power.

Léo Ferré: Avec le temps

musique et paroles: Léo Ferré

Avec le temps...
Avec le temps, va, tout s'en va
On oublie le visage et l'on oublie la voix
Le cœur, quand ça bat plus, c'est pas la peine d'aller
Chercher plus loin, faut laisser faire et c'est très bien

Avec le temps...
Avec le temps, va, tout s'en va
L'autre qu'on adorait, qu'on cherchait sous la pluie
L'autre qu'on devinait au détour d'un regard
Entre les mots, entre les lignes et sous le fard
D'un serment maquillé qui s'en va faire sa nuit
Avec le temps tout s'évanouit

Avec le temps...
Avec le temps, va, tout s'en va
Même les plus chouettes souv'nirs ça t'as une de ces gueules
A la gal'rie j'farfouille dans les rayons d'la mort
Le samedi soir quand la tendresse s'en va toute seule

Avec le temps...
Avec le temps, va, tout s'en va
L'autre à qui l'on croyait pour un rhume, pour un rien
L'autre à qui l'on donnait du vent et des bijoux
Pour qui l'on eût vendu son âme pour quelques sous
Devant quoi l'on s'traînait comme traînent les chiens
Avec le temps, va, tout va bien

Avec le temps...
Avec le temps, va, tout s'en va
On oublie les passions et l'on oublie les voix
Qui vous disaient tout bas les mots des pauvres gens
Ne rentre pas trop tard, surtout ne prends pas froid

Avec le temps...
Avec le temps, va, tout s'en va
Et l'on se sent blanchi comme un cheval fourbu
Et l'on se sent glacé dans un lit de hasard
Et l'on se sent tout seul peut-être mais peinard
Et l'on se sent floué par les années perdues
Alors vraiment... avec le temps... on n'aime plus

dimanche 14 juin 2009

one hundred lives, a thousand and one uses

by le moi
for le moi, 6:41am pt
"life's a beach"

why not give it
another shot?
you got it in yah!
c'mon get real!
get down - get dirty
o bay-bah!

sure i think so hey
just a sec i'll
check my pockets
aw fuck, nothing but
wooden nickels
but sis-tah...

they do in a pinch when
i have an itch on the
bottom of my foot
and if no one's around
they make mighty good
cover-ups for pink nipples

don't want those babies gettin' burned

vendredi 12 juin 2009

My First Art Show: June 11, 2009

my friend gini chin, fellow francophile and french speaker and owner of the ever musical "raven & fitch" wine bar in ilwaco, washington, honored me with my first art show for ilwaco's monthly second thursday "art walk". she hung about 12 of my paintings, and it was a first for gini, too; she has been wanting to display local artists since she first opened a year ago. (i missed the art walk tonight, was too sick to go! what a bummer... but will make it before month's end.) merci encore et encore, gin! prochain projet: chanter cohen et bashung! imaginez: "laura tattoo EST leonard cohen et alain bashung". pourquoi pas? en garde, la peur! xoxox

mercredi 10 juin 2009

Robert E. Gilpin, Artist

I met my dear friend Robert E. Gilpin around 20 years ago in Portland, Oregon. Originally from Billings, Montana, he has shown his art in New York, LA, Portland, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. Check out his unique perspective of interiors, cats and persona at

vendredi 5 juin 2009

My One-Time Only Daughter

for Victoria

i'm standing by your casket and i think,
you're not in it, this is not you at all
but the shell of a girl i used to know

the girl that gave me more joy in a day
than any ray of sun or moon or song
or the goings on at any film festival

you were my morning star for five years,
i brushed your sleek black hair, dressed
you up like the adorable doll you were

but the clothes didn't matter, it was
the beautiful girl in them, with your
big smile breaking out on apple lips

those beautiful thin lips on your
angular face with big cheekbones, big
eyes, big everything! vick...

during the funeral, monty cried as
he recounted the daily phone call between
brother and sister, just to touch bases

and how bright your whole life was, how
much joy you gave to nieces and nephews,
how you were always thinking of them

and putting aside trinkets in twenty little
bags that lined the wall, tootsy pops
and barrettes and little stuffed animals

monty talked about how you'd coached
football for david douglas high school and even
played, there was a picture of you in your uniform

but no matter what you did, it was a winning
game: daughter, sister, niece, auntie, stockbroker,
sportswoman, flyfisherman, and at long last, wife

your last great role after finding true love,
waiting until you were 34 to marry because
you waited for someone with a heart big

enough for the girl who had the biggest heart
in the world, someone upon whom you could
depend, and he came and he saw and he loved you

and then taken away as quickly as love
came! an illness that resolved over christmas
but came back to bite us all in the ass, o vick!

we weren't prepared to lose you so fast!
there are hundreds of people at this funeral,
and you touched everyone of them, and me...

for me you will always be a little girl between
five and ten, you will always be that needy little
girl who was so sweet and affectionate

i made sure you had what you needed then:
good food, clean clothes, piano lessons, and
good grades at school, you were a natural

and now a slide comes up just for me, it's you
in that awful green dress, your braids coming
undone because i was so bad at it, but

your face in the frame of the school photo
is tattoed on my heart forever as it breaks,
your big angular face, smile, big bright eyes

o! this was our time, love, this was our place
five years out of the history of the whole human
race and this love was the epitome of it!

and i stand here at your casket, and i close
my eyes so tight against this hurt and
all i can do is say, thank you, thank you

for letting me in so close so long ago...
you couldn't have done better with your life,
vick, do you see all these people crying?

they loved you like i did, and a life so
filled with love is worth more than 100 years
without it, and what i'm trying to say is this:

we'll miss you, we'll cry, we might even pull
out our hair, but we'll remember how good it
was when you were near... i'll remember

every inch and every minute of the good
that was you, and i'll try not to regret how
i left when everything fell apart between

your mother and me, and how it took me
twenty years to call you and say i'm sorry and
i'll always remember how you forgave me

because that's how big your heart was,
that's how all the joy in you rubbed out all
the bad in us, and that is how you became

my only daughter again, my eternal fix
on what is true: how only love can stay,
how nothing but love matters

because you once lived on this earth,
because you taught us what love was about,
it is through you we were saved, as by jesus

goodbye, daughter, lover, darling sister and friend,
it's one year past your funeral now, and i must
weep and wail, and then take comfort

because it's you, vick, it was always you,
because that's what you taught us to do,
you taught us how to love with a love

big enough to conquer the world!
and i think, life is a school where our
hearts break again and again

until we are saved by the end of it...

jeudi 4 juin 2009

Yellow Vinyl Chair


I never knew you
though we've met in
my dreams, my nightmares

and once when i was three
mama and me, we came to
your door atop an
old brown building
brown brick, gray mortar

mama, pulling me along
in a rush to get it over
and up the first set of
stairs to a hall with
armchair lions

and mama's fear
so palpable
and the lions so
large, i thought
we'd be eaten alive

but the lions
stayed stone
and so did mama's
hold, her grasp of
my little hand
almost hurt

and then the
elevator box
rising up in
three lights

and my age of three
engraved on my
heart and a
big brown building
like a knife in it

and up and up
without talking
no words at all
nothing and then

down the carefully
tended hall to
that flat red door
behind which we'd
find the object of
mama's fear

knock knock
knock knock

we waited until
you appeared in
your lavender suit

you swung open
the door, then
in witch face
peered straight

into my eyes with
a gaze of hate

and all i wanted to do
was escape and say
mama, why are we here?
but i was mute

and ushered in with
cold introductions
and all i remember is
"this is your grandma"

as you pursed your
violet lips tight and
gave me that most
sinful smile, a smile
i knew said
"aha, it's you!"

and then mama
led me through the
blue room into
the smallest kitchen
and bade me sit on the
yellow vinyl chair

and i climbed up
like the good girl
i am, as mama said
"wait here"

it was the hot of
a little kitchen
with no windows
it was sidewalk hot
it was boiling!

and my skin was
slick sweat melting
into vinyl as
yellow vinyl melted
into me

and waiting there,
i swung my legs
to and fro
they didn't halfway
meet the floor

i felt so high up

on the chair and
up up so high
in the building
i could almost
touch the ceiling

until i heard that
shriek so loud
i froze... then
waited in terror
not knowing
what to do

another scream arose
and i knew
i had to

get down
and go

and scooted, sticking
pulling the skin
of my underlegs
peeling up the ridge of
my little shorts pants
and down to the floor
with a thud i went
and ran

and there you were
chasing mama with
that five-inch knife
and screaming
"you slut, you
fucking slut!"

and mama grabbed
my hand again as
we coursed around
the queen-sized bed
and a nondescript
blue room i'll
never forget

and out the door
passed the elevator
down the stairs
three-two-one and
passed stone lions
lazing on hot rocks

then out to the
steaming sidewalk where
we rounded the
corner and never
returned again

thirty years later, my other grandmother threw
herself from a 17th-story hotel window:
it drove my father to find his only biological child and
to tell her over and over again that she was loved

Rain and Radio

Radio Program: Arts Live and Local w/ Carol Newman
Click for Part 1 - Laura // Click for Part 2 - Sarah Jane
Click for Part 3 - Sarah Jane // Click for Part 4 - Laura & Sarah Jane

The 41st edition of Rain Magazine, a project of students and faculty at Clatsop Community College, under the direction of Nancy Cook, had its annual reception on the evening of Thursday, May 28. The 2009 edition was aptly called the "Hope Edition", and in it, I had my first poem published since college. Along with many of the other writers and artists featured in Rain this year, I read my poem "Webster, Mass. – 1972"––the first poem I wrote for this blog!––during the almost three-hour soirée, which is a favorite and well-attended community event every year. Reading with us was Sarah Jane Bardy, a lovely and especially brilliant first-year student at CCC. She read her essay "The Perfect Slice", a wonderfully descriptive treatise on what constitutes the best pizza and where to find it. (New Jersey, of course!)

The next day, both of us were invited to read and talk about our pieces on KMUN, the North Coast's community radio station. "Arts Live and Local" is Carol Newman's longstanding radio program of events coming up soon in the region, airing every Friday at 3pm. The show is quite an undertaking and features several artists, writers and musicians each week. Sarah Jane and I had a blast, along with her proud mom Rita Bardy, a beautiful and fascinating woman in her own right, and an equally proud Ron, who snapped a bunch of great photos. All of this was due, of course, to Carol, the masterblaster, and her unbridled enthusiasm for our local art scene and for each and every person she interviews. Way too much nonstop fun over two days... and I've been flying pretty high ever since! Merci à tous!

The entire broadcast is reposted here, approximately 20 minutes. Part 1 features introductions and my reading of "Webster", parts 2 and 3 is Sarah Jane's reading and a great song by John Gorka ("I'm from New Jersey"), and part 4 is Carol interviewing first Sarah Jane and then me. All photos are courtesy of Ron Walker, except the picture of Sarah Jane on Soundclick, which was snapped by Carol during Sarah's reading.

mardi 2 juin 2009

Crow and Sparrow: A Winter's Tale

Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) and House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), photograph
by Jane Burton/Warren Photographic, Warren Photographic, UK

Why a winter's tale on the first of June, i cannot say... :>>))

In the days of old, Crow said to Sparrow,

"I own the winter, you must move along;
for your body is but a frail arrow

whilst mine is stouter and darker and strong.

Plus the ground is hard for a bit sparrow
to eek out odd worms for his daily bread;

whilst there is meat on the straight and narrow,

there is naught for the both of us," Crow said.

"I will disappear," the sparrow entoned,

"but not because i am small in the end;

I leave because Père Winter has disowned
the crisp green seeds upon which i depend.

"You need not suffer so sadly, Frère Crow,

out of concern for a little sparrow."