“I Try” (M. Gray, J. Ruzumna, J. Lim, D. Wilder)
J Dilla (1974-2006), remix, 2006
Macy Gray, 1999
by Rachel Hadas (1948-, Questions in the Vestibule)
The in-between is queasy,
but all is in between.
Midsummer green? Monotonous
when everything is green.
The sea? A glittering question
if everything is sea.
This vestibule? Unsettling.
I teeter first one way
and then the other. In
or out? I am a fool
to be so caught off balance.
All is vestibule.
Willie Mitchell, record producer, March 1, 1928–January 5, 2010
O. V. Wright (1939-1980), “A Nickel and a Nail,” 1971
Syl Johnson (1936-), “Take Me to the River,” 1975
Otis Clay (1942-2016), “Trying to Live My Life Without You,” 1972
Ann Peebles (1947-), “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” 1973
Al Green (1946-), “Let’s Stay Together,” 1971
other day, Kankakee, Ill.
The Escorts, “Ooh Baby Baby” (S. Robinson, P. Moore), 1973
by Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)
Land lies in water; it is shadowed green.
Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges
showing the line of long sea-weeded ledges
where weeds hang to the simple blue from green.
Or does the land lean down to lift the sea from under,
drawing it unperturbed around itself?
Along the fine tan sandy shelf
is the land tugging at the sea from under?
The shadow of Newfoundland lies flat and still.
Labrador’s yellow, where the moony Eskimo
has oiled it. We can stroke these lovely bays,
under a glass as if they were expected to blossom,
or as if to provide a clean cage for invisible fish.
The names of seashore towns run out to sea,
the names of cities cross the neighboring mountains
—the printer here experiencing the same excitement
as when emotion too far exceeds its cause.
These peninsulas take the water between thumb and finger
like women feeling for the smoothness of yard-goods.
Mapped waters are more quiet than the land is,
lending the land their waves’ own conformation:
and Norway’s hare runs south in agitation,
profiles investigate the sea, where land is.
Are they assigned, or can the countries pick their colors?
—What suits the character or the native waters best.
Topography displays no favorites; North’s as near as West.
More delicate than the historians’ are the map-makers’ colors.
Billy Stewart (1937-1970), “Sitting in the Park” (B. Stewart), 1965
Understanding makes the mind lazy.
—Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-2000), The Bookshop
Donny Hathaway (1945-1979), “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” (D. Hathaway), 1972
Mavis Staples with Ben Harper, “We Get By” (B. Harper), published 5/15/19
Live (TV show), published 5/21/19
Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe
—album title, saxophonist Albert Ayler, 1969
(Taking a break—back in a while.)
James Carr (1942-2001) with Betty Harris (1939-), “I’m a Fool for You,” 1967 (Billboard R&B #42, Pop #97)
Solomon Burke (1940-2010), “Cry to Me” (Bert Russell AKA Bert Berns), 1962
Looking back now, in the late autumn of life—or is it early winter?—I am convinced that art and the erotic are as closely entwined as a pair of lovers lying in each other’s arms.
—John Banville (1945-), Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir