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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Eriksen’

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My Ohio friends say snow snow snow, but I don’t think it will come our way. I’ve been telling you this for a while now. I can believe in the Solstice and the return of the light, but I can’t believe in snow.

I looked up a recent post and an image had disappeared from it. Was it my own photo or a photo from the web? I don’t know, but I’ll add something back.

I started watching Downton Abbey and I like it a lot. I am in love with all of the good characters; and though I see my humanity in each, I hate all the bad ones.

When I was growing up and we spent Christmas in Canada with our very best family friends, we did celebrate Boxing Day. No one in the US had heard of Boxing Day yet.

We would walk and walk on their 50 acres, we would drink and eat and play games and laze about the house. This was my Christmas for many years after the age of 7.

I am going to submit some more poems starting this week including at least one manuscript. I’ve been on hiatus but the rejections still trickle in. The one online poetry journal that accepted a poem seems to be out-of-commission, but I can’t know for sure until I hear something further. It’s been a couple of months since my submission was accepted and now, POOF!, even their website lies fallow….

After this post, I will post a poem in a separate post. Until then (in a few minutes!), please enjoy this musical interlude:

This is from Saturday night’s concert in Montague.

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Christmas can be a mixed bag for a girl like me, a half-Jew brought up by a couple of atheists. So much history can be boiled down into my feelings and experiences of this season of holidays.

The first time I celebrated a real Christmas was when I was 4 years old in Germany. I think they still put live candles on the trees, but I can’t be sure. What I remember most clearly are oranges, nuts and a nutcracker, and a whole fish in aspic. You hear me tell of it here and there, in a poem or so.

There is no snow and I am convinced it will never snow again in New England. I think Paul will have to mow the lawn in January and I think the cat will never be rid of fleas because it will never freeze deeply enough ever again.

What we do know is that the light is coming back. That’s what we know and we know it and know it and know it. And it doesn’t mean we all have to be happy, so don’t fall into that trap of manufactured bullshit. You are allowed to mope and be sad and angry and have a crappy time. You are, you really are. And if you are lucky, you will get to spend that time of yourself with the people you love. That’s all. Food and family and a bit of warmth and light. If not family, the friends who stand in as family. If you are having a hard time generating your own light, steal it from someone else and don’t feel bad about it. They are giving it away because they have enough.

We went to hear Tim and Peter and Zoe on Saturday night at The Montague Book Mill. I can’t say that Christmas songs are my favorite thing in the world, but it’s a magical space and I was glad to be there.

I’ll just post some song now, not even one that the little trio played last night.

I was driving my kid to her dance group yesterday morning and I heard this song on the radio. First I thought, oh no, a country song with all the Christmas clichés. But did I find myself crying by the end? Oh, yes, oh yes I did.

I’d take this honesty and heartfelt emotion over your Bing Crosby Baby-Jesus-With-The-Blue-Eyes any day. Any day.

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two steps forward, don’t say I didn’t warn you….

Is this a modern murder ballad? Not exactly, but I do think of it sometimes on this day.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Tim Eriksen lately, having heard him play last week and having bought his latest CD in the latest manifestation of who he’s been playing with this time around.

Back in July, when I was on the Cape doing a poetry workshop with Dorianne Laux and Joe Millar (so Beat, that Joe! You gotta check out his stuff), I left them with a parting gift of Tim’s CD Soul of the January Hills.* Finally, last Friday night, I re-bought it and have been playing it in my car. It’s got at least 2 (off the top of my head) murder ballads and I’ve been thinking about Lady Margaret, aka, Sweet William, too, lately. I’ve used a link to the wiki page for Sweet William, a little lame, I know, but there must be hundreds of places to look up more thorough information on that particular Child Ballad. You’ll have to do your own research and discover your own personal favorite version. There are lots. I love The Knitters doing it, but it’s no where to be found so I can share it here. I just love that John Doe and Exene singing that old timey stuff together.

Here’s the modern murder ballad for today, courtesy of The Dream Syndicate and youtube:

* if you can buy only one of Tim’s CDs, this is the one I recommend. But maybe that’s just me, lover of a capella and haunting ballads about love and death. When you read the liner notes, you also realize what an amazing tour de force it is. One take, not rehearsed. Damn.

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There was a time when I did not know what the word apocalypse meant. Then, in my late teens, I suppose I felt embarrassed or ashamed. I am older now and I realize that I will always be learning new words if I am lucky. The older I get, the less well I seem able to retain them. But guess what, my turtle doves? My memory is improving of late.

I thought that all of my friends who grew up with church or religion, who went to Sunday School and who had Confirmations, the Catholics, almost the whole lot of them (this was Ohio, after all, chock full of Catholics), all knew all of the stories and words from the Bible, New and Old Testament. I realized at some point that I knew more than they. It was all a sham. They did not know how to spell apocalypse, nor its etymology. They didn’t know what Jesus said, what the Jews said. They did not know any of it. I still wonder what people do in Sunday School if not learn these stories. I do not know what real testament is for anyone and I think most people don’t know this for themselves.

Each time I become anemic, the wear and tear on my face is more dramatic. This time I look older. Though I approach 50, I have some mistaken notion that my youthful body will last. The flesh of my face will stay. The frown lines, which aren’t so much from frowning as exhaustion, grow more pronounced. I used to push up on the apples of my cheeks with the thumb and middle fingers of one of my hands when I was driving in the car (safer than texting!), but now I’ve forgotten to try.

I wrote a bit of something just now, some words gathered around from tonight and before. There are problems, so many problems. I usually refrain from saying what they are, but now, I will tell.

There is the title which is pretentious, but which I like anyway. I like the Dutch vanitas paintings and I like the Latin.

There is always the overdoing, the more than I need. But that is what blogging poems is for. To pare down later.

There is the mixing of metaphors or images. There is the land and earth and there is the sea. But I love them both and I am not confused, only enthusiastic.

There is this which harkens to another poem, one which remains incomplete in my computer. The barn and the harvest, the emptiness and me.

There are the too many and the mixing images, again, of the body and death. This is what yoga is for and this is how the poem takes shape.

And there is stealing. Or snatching. Sneaking the words that came before, sometimes knowing whose, sometimes only vaguely.

Here you go. Here are the words.

Memento Mori

After I am vaporized
the imprint of my body will remain
flattened on the wooden slats
the barn
barley-filled

swing  open  the  gate
swing  open  the  gate

After the apocalypse, the burning off
I am drained of blood
my skin deflated
my bones a fine powder

My skin sinks
but finally

I  remember
I  remember

It boils down
to this

Goldenrod, my ovaries
the shining
harvest
in the hollow
of my groin

I  remember

the coiled snake
the quaking stalk
the base of my spine

Plough  the  ocean  blue
Plough  the  ocean  blue

*

Tonight, I got to hear Tim Eriksen play in a small coffee/deli/bakery in downtown Amherst, The Black Sheep. (The Black Sheep, btw, was one of the first things that caught my eye and attracted me to Amherst. OH! the bakeries. OH! the bookstores. OH! the bakeries. OH! the bookstores).

I have been in Amherst since August of 2000. I have put down a few roots. I can feel them.

I have been singing shape note since August of 2004. I am rooted in tradition.

I didn’t go to this particular concert, The Newport Folk Festival, in late summer 2006. I wanted to but somehow didn’t manage it. Tim organized a big group of people from our local Sacred Harp sing. Here is one of the things they did on the big stage. He played it tonight at the end of the concert and we all sang again. This is NOT a song from the Sacred Harp, by the way. It’s something Tim likes to refer to as “Northern Roots Music.”

And just so you know, my turtle doves, I don’t believe in the apocalypse.

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Before you think I don’t wish us all well for the new year,

★ ★ ★ Happy New Year!!! ★ ★ ★

Also, in case you think I’m in some sort of seasonal crappy state, like last year at this time, here is a dashing couple to put those fears to rest:

I have been uninspired of late. Should I stop blogging (for now)? Was this just an enjoyable one-year experiment? Do I really want to continue Music Monday on a regular basis? What about posting poetry? Will I continue to participate in Poetry Jam? Do I have anything that needs to be said or is it just more ether? Should I continue to link [some of] my blog posts to Facebook?

I am not one for resolutions per se. Two years ago I started taking regular yoga classes. This had been something I’d desired for YEARS. I have done a little bit of yoga my whole life and finally, in December of 2008, I knew I could commit to regular classes. Last year, I decided to start this blog. I didn’t make a resolution; I was simply ready. I do like the idea of a new start, but I don’t like to box myself in. As an alcoholic, rigidity tends to make me rebel; I try not to set myself up for failure (as if I can always see where I’m going–wouldn’t that be nice). Rather, I like to give myself the best chance of success. That can be tricky to discern, but I do okay.

I am already making some of the changes I want for 2012. Nothing difficult or life-altering, just small things that need attending to and to which I can attend because my children need it, our finances need it, I need it, my house needs it, &c. (HA! The first time I’ve used an ampersand with a c on the end on my blog, maybe even the first ampersand on my blog. I promise not to do it again for at least a day).

For today, a video of Tim Eriksen from a couple of years back. If you read the notes below the video on youtube, he gives a little background on the song. It is one of my favorite Sacred Harp songs, one which I can actually lead (not always so easy with more complex songs). I do love the sound of the bajo sexto, but could do without the spinning around of the camera. Still, I hope you enjoy this. It was either this or my kids and I were going to sing Sacred Harp #162 for you via the Mac. But the light is SO bad in my kitchen and my face so sunken. I wouldn’t have chatted, though, only the song. Maybe next year….

Obviously, it was a lot colder a year ago this time of year, though it’s predicted to go into the single digits overnight this week, lots of low 20s and wind in the day.

Today, I was driving down my little street and the wind was whipping the leaves around. It seemed to be snowing broken leaves, but then, I saw real snow. The snow lifted up from the ground, I swear it wasn’t falling. It lasted all of 2 minutes.

No matter what happens, I’ve been happy to blog. Now I wait for snow and the return of the light which is happening some days. Other times, it seems so strangely overcast and blustery that I can’t tell what season I’m in, where I live, when the days will change.

Look, I can tell that you are not convinced about my well-wishes. Time for another New Year’s photo to let you know I’m serious:

If they can do it, why can’t I? I could immerse myself in non-alcoholic bubbly, right?

Best to you and yours, with love and kisses,

♡ twinkly

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Butternut squash is an old staple crop here in the Valley, but in attempting to research it on the web, I couldn’t get a clear history (time to ply Farmer Dan for answers). Squash was part of a traditional Three Sisters garden. When my kids were each in 3rd Grade at their school, they planted a Three Sisters garden. Awesome.

You see field after field of butternut all along the Connecticut River. I know the pumpkin crop in New England was heavily damaged due to Hurricane Irene; I’m not as sure about the butternut squash. You see truckloads piled high traveling hither, thither, and yon on the roads around here. I haven’t really noticed this year.

It’s been damp and cloudy for days. I feel like I’m in Ohio except for those wild animals that were running around over there last week. Hubby and I discussed our memories, from about 20 years ago, of living in Kent and reading for weeks about someone in Rootstown who had a wild-animal farm where some little kid got attacked by a tiger. Claims of safety ensued, lawsuits and debates followed. At least I think it was Rootstown. Anybody else remember this?

In this week’s Thankful Thursday, I wrote about homemade veggie stock. I’m simply too lazy to write up a veggie stock prescription right now, but it would make logical sense to have your veggie stock ready before you cook this. Also, in keeping with being NON-CANDY-ASS, you’ll want to have soaked about a cup (or slightly less) of white beans the night before so they’re ready to go for adding to this soup.

Here comes a recipe for one of my favorite soups of all time. FAVORITE OF ALL TIME! That’s a bold statement:

Kale, Butternut Squash, and White Bean Soup                                                                                                                                     from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin

1/3 C olive oil
2 large onions, diced
10 C vegetable stock
1 C finely diced canned tomatoes, with liquid
2 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced, appx 2 C
2 C cooked or canned white beans, well rinsed
1/2 lb. kale, shredded
grated parmagiano-reggiano

1. Heat oil in stockpot. Add onions and cook until tender.
2. Stir in stock, tomatoes, rosemary, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Add squash and simmer. Cook 30 minutes until squash is tender.
3. Add beans and kale, cook 15 minutes and serve with cheese.

NOTES: I make this soup in all manner of batches and sizes, usually doubling it or more. The quantities of ingredients are very forgiving. Sometimes I use fresh tomatoes to no detriment, or of course (NOT CANDY-ASS ALERT) the ones I’ve roasted and frozen from the summer crop. I also sometimes use spinach over kale. Just a softer texture, not so much for the flavor. It freezes well and is a great fall soup when the crops are all in. If I use fresh rosemary, I add it toward the end of cooking. I always use my own veggie stock which I highly recommend over store-bought or bouillon.

The recipe was given to me by an old Kent friend, Abby Greer. She made it at a Play Group Christmas Party in 1998. Warm memories and post-partum depression.

For musical accompaniment, you could play “Beautiful Soup” from some manifestation of Alice in Wonderland, the best one being Gene Wilder singing it from a somewhat charming 1990’s TV movie. Or you could listen to this which seems to fit my mood today and the weather we’ve had of late, even though the video was shot in the spring.

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I love the word rasp. It’s fun to say and it looks great.

I like the rasp I use to zest citrus fruits, but I also like the zester I use. Which is better? The zester makes long ribbons of the rinds and they are pretty and it’s fun and satisfying, but the rasp makes a better and quicker amount of zest.

I don’t use a wood rasp, though, because I am not a woodworker.

I like the nature of a raspy voice (not really, but that sounded good in my list).

I like raspberries (which you must know if you’ve been paying attention).

I love black raspberries maybe even more than red raspberries, but I only had them once this summer. They were incredibly delicious and delightful. At the farm, we just get red raspberries. I always think that I will plant raspberry bushes, but I haven’t yet. Hopefully, if and when we move, I will finally do it.

And this? How can you not be thankful when you hear this? New England’s own Tim Eriksen:

EEK! I realize that I don’t have a proper credit for the above photo. I am having a bit of a time operating my photo-uploader on wordpress. I also realize that I’m probably remiss in crediting a lot of the photos I upload onto my blog. I mean no harm. If you’d like to find the original, I put “raspberry heart” in the google images search bar. That should do the trick!

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