Posts tagged "music"
Katy Perry Is Crooning and Won’t Stop Just Because I Did

Katy Perry Is Crooning and Won’t Stop Just Because I Did

Because this is a small village and people tell other people’s news, I already know when I walk past your mother’s house, and the garage door is flung open wide as if it got stopped mid-scream, and you are lining up the contents on the lawn (an artificial Christmas tree, boards that once belonged to shelves)...
Are Now All That Remain

Are Now All That Remain

The way he slid Dylan from its cover and fingered the vinyl onto the platter. The way he picked up the needle, more than once, to make sure we heard the sizzle before the song. The way he shuffled into the kitchen in his socks. The hardwood floor of his living room dull and dark....
Memory Palace, Visit No. 3

Memory Palace, Visit No. 3

On my third visit to the memory palace I found the king. He was under a table laden with apples. He was wearing that campy red gown, velour, with the white trim, and the crown, too, which had rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in it. Now in this palace also were portraits of warriors and kings...
Soundtrack

Soundtrack

Owner of a lonely heart . . . He leans against the building across from the train stop downtown. It seems like the kind of outburst street people sometimes make. Owner of a lonely heart Then I catch the syncopation. Wires from ear buds loop down his saggy t-shirt, disappear in a pants pocket. Owner...
Code Talkers

Code Talkers

I’m eleven and my brother is fifteen, and our rooms are in the basement separated by one thin wall. My bed is against the wall and at night I can hear him listening to his music. He listens on headphones but the volume’s so loud I hear everything: the tinsel rain of cymbals and urgency...
Can You Teach Me How To Dance Real Slow?

Can You Teach Me How To Dance Real Slow?

If a DJ doesn’t like you, he plays “Superfreak” or “Bye Bye Miss American Pie.” One’s an insult, the other just takes forever. Eight-and-a-half minutes of rock-and-roll tragedy before I was born. Whatever. It’s playing when I walk into the club, and it’s still playing when I hit the floor, ready to go. I feel...
Silence and Not-Knowing: An Introduction and Silence Is My Playlist (On Being Asked for One to Go with My Work)

Silence and Not-Knowing: An Introduction and Silence Is My Playlist (On Being Asked for One to Go with My Work)

Silence and Not-Knowing: An Introduction If I had to name our household’s mantra, it would probably be “go look it up.” This, of course, is the most basic response to not-knowing: researching in order to learn, confirm or dispel. (For example, a certain person always wanted to be a hostage negotiator, until, in her research,...

Zuill Bailey and a 1693 Matteo Gofriller Cello

Fairbanks, Alaska, September 16, 2010 Prelude: black leather piano bench gleams softly in a single spotlight.  In the background, organ pipes stagger toward heaven. Black shirt, black jacket, black hair—the cellist strides across the stage.  Slight nod and he’s seated, his instrument settled, caressed.  His eyes close as his bow draws out the first notes...

Choir

Courtney McDonell’s voice struck you; it slammed you right in the chest, and stayed there, in notes never pure or clear but throaty and rough and somehow resonant. That year I saw Mrs. Pritchard plead with her to use her diaphragm, said if she kept singing like that she was going to ruin her vocal...

Soundtrack

1968 He sings a Beatles song, “Hey Jude,” when I am just a baby. It plays on the radio. There are four master composers that begin with the letter B, he tells me later: Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, and the Beatles. My dad sings the Beatles. 1974 I listen to Julie Andrews in my bedroom, scratch...

Last Stand in the Closing Country

Black Cat Bone was covering Clapton and Dylan and promised anyone a free beer for naming one of the Yardbirds. I named three on the spot – didn’t get three beers, though, and damned if I wasn’t thirsty. We drink Yuengling out here, out in the towns and fading country outposts that patch Pennsylvania together...

Monsieur Young and the End of Existentialism

In front of Basilique de Fourviere, up in the sky, my face moist from the cold mist moving, I saw the whole city of Lyon spread out in front of me, squat geometric shapes of brown and white and gray. I watched the specks that were speeding cars on a distant highway. I saw the...

The Music Teachers of St. Augustine’s Elementary

None of them last long. The first one is large and imposing, wearing blue shirt-dresses that swing just above her nylon calves. Her hair is iron-gray and swept into a stiff marcelled helmet, and her glasses have silver chains. On the first day she marches in, faces us, and sings out stridently: “Hel-lo, boys and...

A Day in the Lab

I tutor in the writing lab; I like the one on one.  I once taught a composition class, where many students held sentences awkwardly, and dropped them to broken pottery pieces.  Everything was broke.  Most of them were on a mode: their language was hip to a stuffy dress code: everything was tucked in.  I...

By a Song

Memory, like the organ, is an instrument capable of infusing the most secular music with spiritual sounds. — James McConkey When I was in the first grade, my favorite song was John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High.” I was a little confused when I heard it — figurative language still eluded me. How could a boy...

When Aretha Sings …

“It just ain’t no way, baby . . . for me to love you . . . if you won’t let me.” She still sends hot chills up my spine, and I am fourteen again, and it’s Saturday morning, and I’m cleaning our house so I can party that night, and Aretha’s on the hi-fi...

Curvature

My big sister grew up unable to dance because of the scoliosis, because of the Milwaukee brace she wore twenty-three hours a day beginning in second grade. So she taught her fingers to dance, fast skinny fingers on piano and trumpet. The living room was her ballroom. The piano by the fireplace obeyed. Celia could...