On this day, I remember a musical priest whose sermons I still read in the notes of his songs. We will miss you dearly, Leonard Cohen.
Priest: Leonard (Cohen)
We heard his syrupy voice as black as pitch …
preaching his dark sermons
in smoke and fire
in open ditches and underpasses
somewhere in the land of somewhere
under the veil of nowhere.
We realized it was a revival,
complete with tables and
tent poles and lost souls,
though there were no white canvases, no white lies.
He drained us of everything we had,
all our internal resources, all our desires,
all our false hopes, drowning in a sea of
questions marks, ash, and splinters,
but somehow, when we came up out of the
we came up clean.
– Gina Marie Mammano
David Bowie’s soul
floats like a giant orange nebula
across a creaking Cosmos,
luminous matter, morphing its way
past the scrape of starlight,
shocking rocky spheres of stellar
mass into sudden tufts of quiet stardust,
sending planets subtly, slowly
off their familiar tilts.
And a geomagnetic storm rages
somewhere now in the corner of
and so does a voice,
“there’s a starman waiting in the sky,
he’d like to come and meet us,
but he thinks he’d blow our minds . . . .”
Thank you, David Bowie
– Gina Marie Mammano
I’d love to have you join me for my three new Ear Candy podcasts on Whidbey Air. It’s a sweet blend of music, poetry, and essay, curated by me, as your guide. It’s easy to access, and the links and descriptions are below.
Episode 1: Winter’s Cocktail: featuring the music of Fleet Foxes, Belle and Sebastian, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, Robin and Linda Williams, Vampire Weekend, and Leonard Cohen. Featuring poetry by Louis Jenkins and Mark Svenvold. Listen now:
Episode 2: Lost and Found: featuring the music of Josh Garrels, Ray Bonneville, Sufjan Stevens, Sixpence None the Richer, and The Pixies. Featuring poetry by Jeffrey Harrison and Gina Marie Mammano. Listen now:
Episode 3: Hearty Stew: featuring the music of Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, Deb Talan, Gringo Star, Joni MItchell, and Andrew Austin. Featuring the poetry of Joyce Sutphen, William Shakespeare, Margaret Hasse, and Khalil Gibran. Listen now:
Thanks for supporting the show!
Ear Candy: a sweet piece of sound for your mind to suck on.
– Gina Marie Mammano
I would absolutely love it if you would check out my new streaming radio show, “Ear Candy (a sweet piece of sound for your mind to suck on)”. It’s a lively mix of music, poetry, and prose with themes like “Winter’s Cocktail”, “Lost and Found”, “Hearty Stew”, “Liminal Leap”, and “Canticle of the Wind”. Check out “Winter’s Cocktail” now at this link: http://kwparadio.org/ear-candy-podcasts/ to hear the podcast.
And now . . . back to my (mostly) regularly scheduled blog!
Yesterday, I had the privilege of stumbling into a trio of sound- a fiddle player with fire in her fingers, a cellist with a voice dripping with tones of sweet deep molasses, and their sister, a fiddle player as well, who relished the moments of bow and string, blending in perfectly with her siblings.
The magic, though, occurred when the cellist strapped his instrument onto his front side and began playing “The Golden Apple Dance”. It was a simple song, but it drew the attention of a small boy, flaxen-haired, about 3 years old, with Down’s syndrome. As the sounds pulled him from the audience, he clapped and moved, fully engaged with the spirit of the dance. He did it with such a joy and enthusiasm that the rest of us there couldn’t help but be completely taken in. His entire being was a gleam, shimmering with the immersion of the moment- himself joining the stage of our shared experience, unafraid.
This makes me think: what is my “golden apple dance” today? What causes my soul to shimmer? How can I dance it so exuberantly and unabashedly in the presence of my own being that others bask with me in all that joy?
As for me, today, I will be open to where the sun hits my spirit, and in that small spotlight, dance like the moment is golden.
Yesterday, I practiced sitting bedside. There were three of us and our voices created a beautiful moonlike glow of sound all around a friend lying reclined on a living room chair. As the simple songs floated over her, and our voices listened intently to one another, I felt once again even in myself the healing power of song and of creating an ambiance together that helps smooth the path for another from transition to transition, whether it’s from sickness to health, or busyness to slowing down. In this case, we were treating a friend to sweet, calming music after a tiring week, and syncing our voices together to prepare for others who could benefit from this gift.
Music really can help us do that. Our little threshold choir often helps those transitioning from sickness to health, or illness to death, but, really, song has been used for centuries, millennia, to “cover the threshold with flowers”- to lift a child into the realm of sleep, to mark the changes and passages of the day, or to aid a friend, or even ourselves into hopes and reassurances. What song or melody can gently hold your hand through a transition today?
At Ginny’s second rite of passage, there was a song I knew I had to include because it spoke to me and into me the words I would have wanted to hear at age 18. As I listened carefully to the lyrics, I realized that it was actually describing my daughter and who she is right then- not a hope or a wish, but a present reality. It made me deeply smile. Finding the right words to explain the soul or character of another person can be indelibly satisfying. What do you “see” in your child?
“Suddenly I See”
by KT Tunstall
Is a map of the world
You can see she’s a beautiful girl
She’s a beautiful girl. And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palmSuddenly I see (suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me?I feel like walking the world
Like walking the world
You can hear she’s a beautiful girl
She’s a beautiful girlShe fills up every corner like she’s born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you’re trying to remember
What you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on her wordSuddenly I see . . .She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see, yeah, yeah (suddenly I see)