Poems Inspired by Prince “A Purple Showcase” from Emma Lee

Seven Seven Bleeker Street

(Written by Prince, sung by Jill Jones)

It wasn't even an A-side.
A simple beat thickened by bass,
a swirling guitar melody,
an alto female voice building towards the third verse
before falling in the final refrain.
The lyrics a generic afterthought
based on long vowels and feminine rhymes
so the lines drift into the melancholy
of a long-lost first love, a first home.
Even the number is expressed as two digits
to avoid the masculine tee in the middle.
News and social media speculate 
over the cause of death of the song's writer.
I sit in my car on a frosty street
lined with birches, white bark visible,
sunlight creeping over the rooftops,
about to run my first errand of the day
when the song sneaks unbidden into my head.

A Syncopated Cha Cha
2 dancers, one of whom is deaf, dance a cha cha to Prince's "Raspberry Beret"

Raspberry is the colour of the subversive.
She's a glittery, gum-chewing, bohemian mystery
whose easing into character as a brash New Yorker
was helped when a broken hearing aid left
her unable to gauge how loud her voice was.
Her syncopated steps: swivel, check, replace,
side, belie a quiet control under the impression
of casualness: the outfit that took several hours
to throw together, wild waves still governed
by a tide. Some shades of raspberry are blue,
a reminder of their undertone of tartness.
An excellent teacher knows he is a catalyst
cheering from the sidelines as his pupil shines.
Unseen hairpins keep the beret in place. 
Some things are practised not until the dancer
gets it right, but until she can't get it wrong.

Purple Lights over the Mediterranean

How many teens can tell a tale 
of a rocky relationship with dad,
rebellion tempered by the need 
for food, shelter or money?

A tale of a passion for something 
misunderstood by someone 
who wants you to follow their template?
Of sneakily rehearsing, playing, writing
while pretending to be someone else?

How many teens compare their life
to being in a warzone,
navigating choppy waters,
or desperately bailing out 
knowing the flimsy boat will sink?

How many teens have been cast adrift
by parents who want to do their best?
How many, caught somewhere
between childhood and adulthood,
have been pushed out to sink or swim?

Whose stories do we listen to?
The famous man with a guitar-lined basement
or the teen enthusiast drifting
on a prayer in the Mediterranean?



Bio: Emma Lee’s publications include “The Significance of a Dress” (Arachne, 2020) and "Ghosts in the Desert" (IDP, 2015). She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, 2015), was Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines and blogs at https://emmalee1.wordpress.com. 

More From Emma: 3 poems from Emma Lee

Poem: Tracing a Love Song by Emma Lee

A Fevers of the Mind Spotlight on: Marissa Nadler (musician, songwriter, singer)

Marissa Nadler has been one of my favorite singer/songwriters since around 2005. As I became more influenced by great songwriters and poets in the early 2000’s when I became a huge Leonard Cohen fan, got into Townes Van Zandt, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Fairport Convention, Tori Amos and then learned more about Tom Watis, Mark Lanegan, Kristin Hersh, Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks and more I found the music of Marissa Nadler. With a hauntingly sweet voice that sung every song into a story and imagine you into the story seeing what she is seeing, expressing what she is expressing, taking cover songs and putting them in her own spinning reality images. Here is a review of some of my favorite songs and video clips of the great Marissa Nadler. Creativity in every endeavor. Music, artwork, videos, performances.

First of all her website is https://www.marissanadler.com/ so much info on her career, albums, shows, merch, press & more. Marissa’s bandcamp page https://marissanadler.bandcamp.com/

Marissa’s new album “The Path of the Clouds” will come out this year on the great “Sacred Bones Records” in October. I cannot wait. https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/products/sbr280-marissa-nadler-the-path-of-the-clouds go to Sacred Bones and pre-order yours. An album loosely based from Marissa writing songs while binging “Unsolved Mysteries” during quarantining.

A song preview from Marissa’s youtube page for “Bessie, Did You Make It?”

The first album of Marissa’s I listened to was “Ballads of Living and Dying” (2004-Eclipse Records)

Ballads of Living and Dying.jpg

A very important record during a lost, sad, deeply in love with someone who was far away and with another. 2004 (when I was 24) was such a rediscovering year, a year filled with finding my writing style, and reading aloud in poetry coffeehouses. Albums like this one helped encourage me to find my writing style. An often melancholy walk in sadness. Glimpses of hope, and ultimately alone and waiting (during this time) I often call songs from this album classics “Fifty Five Falls” “Undertaker” “Bird Song” “Annabelle Lee” are all just part of a great debut LP.

The Saga of Mayflower May (2005-Eclipse Records) is an underrated in my collection of Marissa’s albums I have. I think because I was still so entrenched in the first album by the time this one came out. Over the years I have listened more and more to this album and love it.

Songs III (Bird on the Water) 2007-Peacefrog Records is my favorite album of Marissa’s earlier work and possibly my most listened to.

Songs III- Bird on the Water.jpg

“Diamond Heart” “Mexican Summer” “Thinking of You” “Silvia’ “Bird on Your Grave” such a wonderful cover of “Famous Blue Raincoat”

“Little Hells -2009 Kemado Records)

Some sad awesome songs on this one ” Heart Paper Lover” “Mary Come Alive” “Ghosts and Lovers” is just a great album.

MarissaNadlerLittleHells.jpg
Marissa-nadler-5th-album.jpg

Marissa’s self titled LP in 2011 (Box of Cedar) took a great effort to get released.

Songs that I enjoy quite a bit include “In Your Lair, Bear”, “The Sun Always Reminds Me of You” “Alabaster Queen” “Puppet Master”

“July -2014 Sacred Bones Records”

July

The first album under Sacred Bones brings indie folk & dream pop together wonderfully.

Favorites include “Drive” “Firecrackers” “Dead City Emily” “Was It a Dream”

“Strangers” in 2016 Sacred Bones Records has some songs that I constantly play in my Marissa Nadler folder on my phone. Including “Katie I Know” “Hungry is the Ghost” “Shadow Show Diane” “Strangers”

Strangers

“For My Crimes” 2018 Sacred Bones Records. My favorite album of Marissa’s in the last half of the decade. Such an artistic vision with this.

For My Crimes

“For My Crimes w/Angel Olsen” ” I Can’t Listen to Gene Clark Anymore w/Sharon Van Etten”, “Blue Vapor” “Said Goodbye to the Car” (the perfect song for Letting Past People Go)

“Droneflower” is an album Marissa did with former Cave-In member Stephen Brodsky (2019 Sacred Bones Records) a little heavier album at times.

Marissa also has several compilation albums, covers albums, EPs and more to check out. Some covers to check out and get a taste of what is on these comps and cover albums.

I really enjoy this Happy Rhodes cover. Always cool to see artists recognize Happy Rhodes.

I think I’ve written at least 2 poems based on this song.

with John Cale

Interview: Marissa Nadler Talks New Album For My Crimes

https://thecreativeindependent.com/people/musician-marissa-nadler-on-hard-work-staying-healthy-and-creating-in-multiple-mediums/

https://www.songwritersonprocess.com/blog/2018/10/12/marissa-nadler

Woody Guthrie Strings: Poetry by David L O’Nan

Woody Guthrie Strings

Playing faster than speed to kill the fascists
Dust storms invade us with coughing
Leaves us with no breath
New diseases spread wildly
In the oxygen we spare
Moments we still share
Until the last beating of our hearts
Are we but fragile sticks?
Are we a Woody Guthrie guitar string?
We are surviving despite chaos
Lingering whisps of light
In our porous brains. 

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog. 

The return & revised version of “New Disease Streets” by David L O’Nan Poetry and stories 

Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Anthology available today! 

Available Now: Before I Turn Into Gold Inspired by Leonard Cohen Anthology by David L O’Nan & Contributors w/art by Geoffrey Wren 

Poetry from David L O’Nan in the Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers

Hard Rain Poetry Online Anthology inspired by Bob Dylan : poems by Lynn White

Help Me Over

Help me.
Help me over.
Help me cross.
I can see the sky 
framed
by debris,
by rocks,
by wire,
by dereliction.
Framed 
by sharpness and
impenetrable barriers.
I want to see it clear,
clear and unblemished
creamy white
and pink and blue.
Help me see it.
Help me over.
Help me cross.
I want want to see it
framed by trees,
I want to see
the rocks become
flowers 
again.
Help me.
Help me over.
Help me cross 
to the place
where the birds are singing
breaking up the sky with flight.
Does it still exist, this place?
I must think so.
Help me find it. 
Help me.
Help me over.
Help me cross


*First published in Armageddon Issue, Pilcrow and Dagger, February 2017

Nightmare

The sun is standing still for them
Standing still for the streams of dreamers.
Dreamers streaming down the roads to somewhere
else.
From somewhere that has become nowhere
destroyed by the money men,
the vultures who feed on their misery.
Dreaming of escape.
Dreaming of a future, any future.
Dreaming of better things to come.
Dreaming of the life they once had.
Dreaming, dreaming, dreaming.
Dreaming of returning
when the sun comes up again,
hoping it shows more than the vultures
that follow them
circling overhead
waiting patiently
for those left in a nightmare.


*First published in Free Verse Revolution, August 2020


The Hunger of War

They’re piling up
or splayed out
on streets
body after body
civilians
unarmed
or ill advisedly
armed 
in haste
and heroism
their meat is needed
to feed the hunger.

It’s piling up
the rubble of lives
in flames
fed 
by weapons
and more weapons
the tears of the displaced 
are not enough
to douse them
so they leave,
when they can,
a low priority
as there’s no meat on them 
the women, children and elderly.
But the meaty men must stay
to fight like soldiers
to the death
and be spat out
with screaming shells
and fear.

And their screams die with them 
as victory comes closer
it is said
day after day
it is said
as the leaders scream
“no surrender”
victory will be theirs
when the hunger is sated.

More weapons
more bodies
more lives
in flames 
to feed
the insatiable hunger of war.

Bio:

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality and writes hoping to find an audience for her musings. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Light Journal and So It Goes. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/




Bob Dylan Inspired Poem from James Schwartz : Revolution & Rust

Revolution & Rust

The night falls fast,
His kiss grows cold,
Blowing in the wind,
Memories glow gold,
 
So many years, man,
Have kept us apart,
His Bob Dylan records,
My silence as we part,
 
The morning comes quick,
Pray to our lust,
Tonight we will sing,
Of revolution & rust. 
 
 
https://youtu.be/1ST9TZBb9v8 

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with James Schwartz
3 Poems by James Schwartz

Bio: James Schwartz is a poem, slam performer and author of various poetry collections including The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (Kindle, 2011), Punatic (Writing Knights Press, 2019) & most recently Motor City mix (Alien Buddha Press, 2022)