Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Night Frolic - Cold, Cold Ground








Then came the ice birds, through the bleeding sky, over the undulating, aqua field.  The white forest, frozen in dream, did not hear their trumpeting, nor the crunching upon the crisp ocean as a gaggle landed on its crystal beads. 

One eye open and one eye shut, they rested uneasy, gulping the heaving field's abundant airuntil impatient and hungry grew the gosling, who cried!

Mother goose took the lead, dew-tipped tails waddled behind, the bleached horizon in the distance pined. 

Where the red sky meets the blue plain, dusk and dawn are the very same. 

A poem, at times, must be scrutinized, to uncover certain cluesthis is what the schoolmaster uttered, his tapered pointer a dancing muse.

Ice birds fixed on the cold, cold ground of the ivory shore as they shuffled in cedilla form 
(unlike their innate, accent circonflexe arrays in ruby heavens).

The silver gander considered the graze, and advanced along the inversion, his broad crown alert to what might fill the gizzard. 

Somewhere in the sea of brush: berries, sedge and root. (Had he expected fish?) Then came the ice birds, mandibles wide and serrated, pulled up all the grasses, swam along the scrub, filled their bellies with white forest and frozen dream.

* * *

                                                         
No one writes more imaginative story/songs/poems (especially the scruffy, down-and-out sort)  than Tom Waits. Loss, lies, love, lowlife, liquor, loners and lullabies, he covers a lot of ground with a mean growl. Only Bukowski (whose influence on Waits is palpable) growled more prolifically. But Waits is the master of pairing poetic story with melody. And his ballads are beautiful.

From Franks Wild Years (1987)


From his 2006 album, Orphans:



From Mule Variations (1999):


From Alice (2002):


Waits's most recent album, Bad As Me, was released in 2011after a seven year absence in the studio. On Bad As Me he's back like the geese, mandible wide and serrated. You can read (or listenhighly worth the 45 minutes) more about the release on this October, 2011, NPR Fresh Air interview with Waits. 
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The geese, as they were this morning (minus inverted color), in the undulating field.

39 comments:

  1. Dear Jayne, what a feast--Tom Waits, the growling, brawling outcast. Wonderful, heartwrenching ballads. Thank you. And your writing about the ice birds is lovely. A+, Jayne, once again. xo

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    1. So glad you enjoyed this, Melissa. Last weekend's Weekend Wisdom photo included a quote by Bukowski, whose raw writing I've always admired. Waits follows in his footsteps. And I like to tip toe through that rawness. Well, I supposed I'd really like to dive in, and to that end, I'll keep clack-clacking away.

      The birds flew in as I stood alone in the field, taking pictures of an old barn. So sweet of them to visit me like that. ;)

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    1. Thanks, Sandra. I'm still working on the color scheme, but I'll let it be for now. :)
      (I need real photo editing software!)

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  3. Lovely writing--and I enjoyed that inverted photo. Must try that some time. (P.S. thought of you quite a bit today, as I finally got over to the Museo del Barrio for a little visit before coming back upstate. I kept saying to myself, over and over again, look what you've been missing! So, thanks for the nudge!)

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    1. Susan- I used Picnic's (which is closing shop in April) photo editing--tried the inverteffect yesterday for the first time. It's kind of fun, and as soon as the photo was inverted--those birds icy and all--I got inspired. Until then, I had nothing. Good to mix things up, I guess!

      The Barrio! I hope you'll be writing about your pilgrimage there. :)

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    2. Hey, thanks for the photo tip! I didn't have enough time at the Barrio to make a post of it, sadly, but I have the taste for it and hope to go back, so maybe down the road, who knows.

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  4. Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits. Really! Who could ask for anything more! :)
    The Ice Birds - beautifully written.
    Now, I get to go back and listen to all the Tom Waits clips before I hit the sack. Thanks!

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    1. The dynamic duo, Rubye! I think the video selections are perfect for late night listening. Hope you slept well. ;)

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  5. I love that photo - both editions. And Tom Waits. And your poem.

    You blow me away, girl.

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    1. Thank you, Janie Girl. The poem, well, after having so much fun tinkering with the photo, I had to extend the silliness. Besides, hadn't written an acrostic poem (well--an unconventional version) since elementary school! :)

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  6. A wonderful poem Jayne and interesting to see the two versions of your photo as well and how striking the contrast is.

    I really like Tom Waits but haven't listened to his music in a while so this was great.

    Loved your alliterative description as well.

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    1. Lucy- What better time than now to turn up the volume on Waits?! I like listening to him this time of year, when it's still cold and dark early, but the light is beginning to change. :)

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  7. I'll come back and listen to all your selections while I am filling molds today.

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    1. Ah, have fun with the molds, Ellen. I'll have to stop by to see what you're up to now. :D

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  8. You know this may surprise you but i've never really been a big fan of Mr. Waits, yeah he's got some great songs but on a whole i think he's wildly over-rated, i know i know coming from a guy who's read over 60 books by or about Bukowski you'd think i'd be all over it, he's just never been my glass of scotch, maybe i'm just trying to outside the outsider ;)

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    1. Ha! Outside the outsider. Well, he's been a pretty successful rebel--right up into his 60's...
      And no, you don't surprise me entirely. Although I'd guess that you'd like his writing.

      I think he's a pretty entertaining guy, and I like a cigarette and whisky-drenched-Jason Robards-Humphrey Bogart-Rooster Cogburn voice. His earlier, jazzy records (Closing Time, Nighthawks at the Diner) were what initially drew me to him years ago (though I didn't hear them until years after they were released), and then Rain Dogs, in the 80's, kept me there. Not everything he's done has been remarkable, but I don't think it would be so for anyone who's been at it for as long as he has. Overall, he's made good choices--not bad for a rebel. ;)

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  9. Oh J girl as you know i am a huge waits fan and you have treated me with three of his great songs...a heartfelt thanks....yes i agree that bad as me is one of his defining moments in his recording career...great stuff!
    Indeed like the goose, gander and gosling he is back...with serrated teeth...i never heard him swear on record before but he does on this lp...oh and that interview is hilarious...i love how he outdoes the sometimes toffee mouthed reporter with his knowledge of things arcane...i agree, best listened to so you can hear him cackle...
    terrific post! ;)

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    1. I'm glad to see him back with Bad As Me, though it's definitely a more produced sound than his past works. Terry Gross is a skilled interviewer--Tom, though, with his stories and wry humor, could probably outdo just about anyone. He is scruffy and gruff as ever!

      And still quite the storyteller.

      Wow-those SF booksellers must have loved you!

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  10. oh and i forgot about buk...when i was in the states i made a beeline to city lights in SF and bought up all his books...they sit in a special place in my bookshelf;)

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  11. Very nicely done. The ice birds are wonderful.

    Is it wrong of me to say Tom Waites for no man? ;)

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    1. Ha! Hilary, it would be most appropriate to say that. Congratulations for being the first to say it! ;)

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  12. Jayne, your poem blew me away. Really. You must write more poetry. You're a natural Jayne. I loved every line of it.
    Also, thank you for the intro to Mr. Tom Waites. Yes, I had never heard of him. I believe now is the time for me to appreciate Mr. Waites. Thanks for that.
    Leah

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  13. Oh, Leah, so kind of you, but honestly, I look back at my poems and laugh! And I'm never comfortable hitting the publish button, but I'm not about to waist all that time! Inevitably, I compare my writing to that of the greats, and despair--nowhere within miles of that kind of talent--I still, however, will forge on.

    I think a while back I said that I wouldn't pepper this blog with my sophomoric poems, but lately I just can't help myself! Besides, you have to start somewhere right? ;)

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  14. I love your snow birds! From mother goose to the gander, I loved every word. And Tom Waits is a genius. The NPR interview was great. Who would've known that he had to practice his gravely voice? Nighthawks at the Diner is still my favorite. Glad I clicked on here to read more.

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    1. For anyone who's never taken a shine to Waits--I recommend this interview. Waits is on my "I'd love to have lunch with..." list. Or maybe just a Guinness.

      Yep, Nighthawks did it for me. ;)

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  15. Such beautiful words and an amazing picture.

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    1. Thanks, Bill, you bum. You still out west?? You bum. ;)

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  16. Great post Jayne - it makes me feel chilled to the bone just to read it

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    1. So different from the morning I good the photo. It was cold, but not nearly as cold as a New England February morning should be. Ack.

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  17. Jayne: You continue to amaze me with the wide range of topics you tie together so beautfully. The artwork reminded me of looking through night vision glasses and matched your beautiful description with a classic romanticism that is very rare! All of which is to say: What a cool blog! :)

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    1. Michael- Night vision glasses- ah that's a good way to describe the inversion. It does have the cool, eerie feel to it. Glad you liked it-and the frolic with the ice birds! :)

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  18. Tom Waits is also one of my favorites (even though I'm a metal head). The best live album I've ever bought is probably Nighthawks at the Diner >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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    1. Oh wow, Cold, two in a row! Bush, and now Waits. Ok, I'm getting a feel now for what you're interested in aside from metal (which is one of the few musical genres I've never been able to warm to). ;)

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  19. "I think a while back I said that I wouldn't pepper this blog with my sophomoric poems..." well, I guess I like sophomoric! I think one of the wonderful things about blogs IS that it is encouraging so many of us to simply brave it and put our work out there. Doesn't it inspire you to grow as a writer?

    Besides which, I just love the poem and how perfectly it works with the picture. They enrich each other. And I always enjoy seeing how an artist does her or his work--the process used.

    Tom Waits is not my favorite, but I love mixing him with other music. When I listen to several pieces in succession, I go on growl overload, so I have to stop. But Cold Cold Ground was the perfect segué from that poem to his music.

    Thank you for visiting and now following my blog. I did not expect my three blogs about my painting--process and inspiration would touch anyone at all. But, then, perhaps we are all surprised to be seen, to be listened to or noticed.

    Another plus. I take blogging and comment conversations over facebook any day.

    I look forward to reading more.

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    1. Jeannette- Absolutely. I'm more inspired by what I've read on blogs than I have been in all the writing classes I've taken thus far. Which makes me wonder about my investments. I'm quite happy, though-- and twas the point of starting this blog--developing technique or voice or whatever it is that needs to be developed (which is still a LOT!) here at SS.

      I think my fascination with Waits stems from not only his music, but his whole repository of work, which I would have liked to discuss further, but I needed to limit the Frolic (as I tend to not get to it until late). And links to his website and Wiki fill in the missing info.

      Facebook. "The entire point of Facebook is to make you jealous..." Joel Stein, TIME magazine (just read the article last night).

      Thanks for being here, Jeannnette. :)

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  20. Sigh. Now I must add yours to the list of respectable voices urging me to get serious about Tom Waits. (This is shaping up to be an intense twelvemonth, since I've also promised to do that with Warren Zevon.) I really admire people who can listen to vocal music for pleasure even when the singer's voice is so distracting. Or maybe "admire" isn't the right word; maybe I'm just envious. Whatever. The point is that 90% of TW's music that I've heard -- as sung by him, anyhow -- just fails to penetrate some sort of Waitsproofed wall around my musical taste.

    (That said, I was greatly charmed by "Hold On" from the start, and featured it a while ago over at my place, too. Think that pre-dated your first visit there, though.)

    Not knowing of his song "Cold Cold Ground," I was pretty sure your musical selection du jour would be Hank Williams's "Cold, Cold Heart."

    You do know of the club he's in with Jim Jarmusch et al., no?

    Always such a pleasure to stroll around your woolgathering Friday hallway. (But I think you know that, too.)

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  21. "Twelvemonth" - I like that. Gosh, haven't heard that in many many twelvemonths.

    JES, I didn't know about the club--just hit the link. That's pretty humorous. My dad was a HUGE Lee Marvin fan. I remember watching The Dirty Dozen with him, probably a dozen times. And interesting, too, that you mentioned this because Waits starred in Jarmusch's black and white Down By Law with Lurie and Robero Benigni. Great film.

    Love that Cold, Cold Heart song of Hank Williams. But then, I love everything he did.

    Oh, gosh-where'd the time go?! I've got run and get the kiddies... Go listen to Waits! He'll grow on you, he will! :)

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