Dorothy Parker · insomnia · poetry

Help Me, Dorothy Parker.

“Oh, sad are winter nights, and slow;

And sad’s a song that’s dumb;

And sad it is to lie and know

Another dawn will come.” ¹

In the last week, Insomnia has made me her bitch. I was on a roll, sleeping through nearly every night like the dead, and suddenly, I’m wide awake. And it’s making me even crazier. Last night I found myself sitting on the deck outside my room at 4 o’clock A.M., because I was too restless to stay in bed anymore, and I had to do something different. I sat on the bench, wrapped up in my blanket, with my headphones on, listening to John Lithgow read poetry in the dark. Eventually I got tired of sitting there (actually, my butt & feet were chilly), so I went back inside, and tried to read. I couldn’t focus on my new mystery, so I cracked open the Dorothy Parker book on my nightstand.

Dorothy understands the long nights. Yeah, I know, most poets do, but Dorothy just reaches me in a way that works better than anyone else. When my life is falling apart, and my broken heart is screaming, I know that I can read my favorite poet (or her short stories!), and find a companion.  I’ve not memorized many poems, but they are all hers.

Granted, reading didn’t help me fall asleep last night, but it did make me feel better about being awake all night.

Inventory

Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.

Four be the things I’d been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.

Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.

Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye. ²

¹”The Small Hours”  p. 6, Complete Poemsdownload

²”Inventory” p 44, Complete Poems

angels · blood · Dexter · Elvis · poetry · reading · writing

Blood and Poetry

I went to college. Actually, I went to several colleges, and changed my major several times before I finally finished, but that’s totally not the point. The BA I finally ended up with is in English:Creative Writing:Poetry, with a minor in Theater. Yes, that’s a degree that will get you a job in any field!

I always enjoyed poetry, although I’m still not sure why I chose to major in it. I’m more of a reader than a writer, in spite of the many aspirations my mother has for me. I did put together a collection (a “thesis” if you will) for my final project, and gave many readings for classes. That part I was good at; I’d never had a problem being in front of others. But over the years I’ve written less and less, and I miss it. In an effort to get back in the groove, so to speak, I dug up as many of my old poems as I could find. Aren’t you lucky–I’m going to post some of them! (Be afraid, be very afraid!)

Before we get to today’s poem, can someone explain to me why, when I am feeling low, watching a show like Dexter, or reading a Jonathan Kellerman novel, full of blood and mayhem, monsters and murder, makes me feel so much better? It can’t just be me, or these things wouldn’t be as popular as they are, right? I’ve spent the last two days watching Dexter on Netflix, while doing all the other things I need to do. And yes, I suddenly feel so much more normal. Really, compared to most of the characters on this show, I’m a paragon of mental health. Good to know.

And now for the literary portion of today’s post! One of my favorites. Enjoy.

 

Wilhelmina

In a hypothetical world,

I am a bimbo goddess of poetry,

Enshrined in my coffeehouse castle,

my words the songs of a generation.

Attended by sugary seraphim upon my beachside throne,

my name resonates on the tongues of cappuccino demigods.

He, bespectacled, brilliant, falls at my feet,

quoting darkly my childlines.

As gilded graces join us in our dance,

we whirl through a city of stars into

our moonpalace home.

Fall through velvet loveclouds into beds of miracles.

Strongly carefree of wings or wheels,

tasting of copper and chocolate,

a literary, bad-­tempered love of scarlet phrases in my head.

He whispers, solemn:

“God has spoken, and he sounds like Elvis.”

Elvis-Angel-mural

audio books · blogging · blogs · books · celebrity · Craig Ferguson · insomnia · lazy · meditation · poetry · reading · tarapieceofpaper · vision · writing

Tell Me a Story

It’s been nearly two months since my last post. I am a slacker. In my defense, I DID spend two weeks of that time without vision, after I scratched my eyeball and had to go without contacts while it healed. Since I don’t have a pair of glasses at the moment (and for some reason, we never found time to make it to the nearest vision center), and I am blind as the proverbial bat (without the great hearing), I was pretty much stuck in a chair, doing nothing.

“But, Jonna,” I hear you ask, “How is that any different than your normal, everyday, vision-filled life?”

Yeah, shut up.

I know I’m a slacker, you know I’m a slacker, we all know, Jonna’s a slacker. Old news. They don’t call me the Queen of Procrastination for nothing! My friend and fellow blogger/slacker, Tara of tarapieceofpaper went seven months between posts, and she actually has a life and stuff to write about, so I don’t feel so bad!

Anyway. While blind, or blurry, I discovered that audio books are actually kinda nifty, if the person reading them doesn’t sound like Daffy Duck. Until now the only experience I had with them was listening to a few celebs read their memoirs, which I enjoyed. Craig Ferguson, my favorite comedian and talk show host, has written two books, and I own his memoir on tape. This time, I broadened my horizons, first trying a book I was halfway through reading. I had to give that up, because the reader was terrible. I am assuming she is related to the author or sleeping with the producer, because otherwise, nobody would hire her to read for a living. Remember the actress with the horrible voice in “Singin’ In the Rain?” Yeah. This was her, only younger, and with a Southern accent.

So I gave up on that book and moved on to others, all of which were better, I am happy to say. My choices ranged from new age (Depak Choprah) to Stephen Fry reading short stories, to poetry collections, and podcasts. And I listened to Carol Burnett read her memoirs, too. She’s always been one of my hero, so that was wonderful!

Now, I can see again, but I’ve not given up on audio books. It’s so nice to have someone else read to me for a change. When insomnia strikes, as it often does, I just slip on my headphones, lay in the dark, and a soft voice tells me a story. Who wouldn’t love that?

story

book reviews · books · Music · poetry · reading

Book Review: I Think I Love You

 

I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson love
You’d expect a book about teens in love with David Cassidy to be light and full of air, a pop song of a novel, wouldn’t you? Well, that is not at all what the reader gets with this book. The story of Petra, who as a teenager in a small Welsh town, who along with her best friend Sharon, enters The Ultimate David Cassidy Quiz contest in hopes of winning a meting with their idol. Petra’s mother is staunchly against all forms of popular culture the family doesn’t even have a television and so Petra must hide her devotion to Cassidy, as well as her plans to see the man in concert in London. Years later, after her mother’s death, she discovers a letter in her mother’s things, telling her that she’d won that contest back in 1974; in a rush of grief, Petra calls the publishing company and demands her prize.

 

Intertwined with Petra’s story is that of Bill, a writer at the magazine sponsoring the contest, who in many senses becomes David Cassidy for the fans. He writes the letters the teenyboppers think are from David, using his poetic and musical heart to win their love. Bill even behaves like a prince at the concert where he and Petra unknowingly cross paths.

 

Years later, as adults, they cross paths again, as Bill’s publisher sends Petra and Sharon to Las Vegas to see David Cassidy, fulfilling their adolescent dreams. The plot sounds simple, but like a good pop song, there are layers. Upon layers. Love, anguish, teenage and adult heartbreak, music, poetry, and friendship. I didn’t expect it, but I am so glad I found it. Allison Pearson, I think I love you.

 

Dance · happy · hope · Music · poetry · Portland · Uncategorized

Sweet Music Man (My Rock-Star Boyfriends)

“Play your song sweet music man…
Nobody sings a love song quite like you do
And nobody else can make me sing along
Nobody else can make me feel
That things are right when I know they’re wrong
Nobody sings a love song quite like you.”

I love that song, and the men on my list of “rock star boyfriends” all fit into that mold. Each, with his music, has made me feel things were right when I know they’re wrong. Or make me dance.

So, not all of them are actually rock stars, but who cares? It’s my list, I’ll do what I want!

Chris Isaak. Two words “Wicked Game.” Need I say more? Not really, but I will– his newest album, Beyond the Sun, has a cover of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” that is in my opinion, better than the original. Makes my toes curl.

Yo-Yo Ma. A classic music rock star. The cello is the sexiest instrument, and Yo-Yo makes love to his. Listen to his recordings, and you can feel the passion. Turn the lights down, pour a glass of wine, and put some Yo-Yo Ma on the stereo. I am especially fond of his Bach cello suites.

Tom Petty. I don’t care what he looks like; this singer-songwriter has been a part of my musical life since high school. I’d date him, if only because he’s a poet.

Elvis Costello. Smart. Sexy. Poetic. A bit hipster, but he really was doing it first, so who cares? My first experiences with Elvis Costello were in Portland coffee houses in 1989, and I have never looked back!

Raul Maulo, lead singer of The Mavericks. Both with country band The Mavericks and on his own, Raul Maulo has a voice to make me swoon. In the same mold as Roy Orbison & Chris Isaak, his voice has lovely lows and that amazing falsetto to give you shivers. Listen to his rendition of ‘Blue Moon,’ and see.

Jon Bon Jovi. Still. He rocked back in the 80’s, and is hotter than ever, and still rocking twenty years later. His smile is still adorable, and so is that butt, although he has much better hair now!

Enrique Iglesias. All the suave his father had, along with a big helping of pure sex drive on a plate!

He’s even hotter in Spanish..

Josh Turner. This country boy is cute enough, but as soon as he starts singing, he becomes incredibly sexy! That deep voice asking “I wanna be your man” is just yummy.

The young Jerry Lee Lewis. The bad boy. He starts playing piano, and ooo-weee, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on! Take him over Elvis any day.

Whose barn what barn MY barn!

I’d never forgive myself if I left my Barry off this list. Mr. Manilow has not never been a particular heart-throb of mine, but his music has been in every part of my life since his first hit back in the 70’s. Before that, really, since we all knew his tv jingles by heart, and just didn’t know he wrote them– he’s they guy who got us stuck on Band-Aids, and let all the Peppers come out of the closet!
Barry Manilow writes the songs that make the whole world cry (sing along, you know the words!), and he has written songs for every time in my life. Here are two of my favorites.

My Rock-Star boyfriends. Aren’t they great?