Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sounds from the Dead

Cleaning out a closet and finding old recordings of my dear friend piano genius Doug Hall, my remarkable violinist father, my sister Sharon and dear friend vocalist/ composer Tina Marsh...all making music up in the clouds now.

Sounds from the Dead

I can listen,
But not all the time…
Only when I’m centered,
His touch on piano
Coming back in time
Press rewind,
I love that phrase…
And he plays…
Flooding interior of my car,
sound track
of the world passing.

But I hesitate to hear
The strings of my father…
Violin song
Too close to his voice
Heartbreakingly sweet frequency
long ago,
My young world then…
Washes over
an uncertain aging heart.

She speaks
On fragile Maxell.
Worry I might loose captured
ghost of speech…
in antique Sony sound machine.
Her laugh rising
from plastic speaker holes,
her timid song
in tune
self conscious
I had forgotten how beautiful,
As tone flies through my ears
To my tightening throat
I empathically sing along
With her…
Finding this process
I press
Room quiet
Ears buzz
Her voice remains.

And you
Who made your
Voice song captured
to be replayed on time
The focus of a life.
You sing
and grab me
from unexpected places
ever present.
belted lines
of dissonant collisions
and sorrowful calling.
Again I press stop,
And remove the vault
Where sounds flood back
Returning memories
To a jewel case grave.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Chicken or the Egg?

Back at the piano.

It's a Monday night. I should go out and support live music in Austin. Some good friends have a steady gig downtown every Monday night, but I'm sticking to my promise to stay home and get the music out of my psyche and onto paper.

Things are flowing with more ease tonight thank goodness. I attribute it to the fact that I dined with my 6 year old grand nephew this evening.  Hanging out with 6 year olds is good for the spirit. We had pizza and then we built a fire in our back yard chiminea.  Shoal Creek runs behind my yard and it's often a dry creek bed, but tonight it was a raging river from yesterday's heavy rain fall.

So we sat talking with a rushing river, a pink sunset, and a blazing fire on a cool Texas evening.

It was quite perfect.

I'm not sure if being calm and happy brings out the music or if bringing out the music makes one calm and happy. It's a "what came first, the chicken or the egg" thing right?

Well, I'm calm and happy now for sure.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A 6th Century feminist, writers block and Guacamole.

I'm staring at a blank sheet of lined notebook paper to the left of a blank sheet of manuscript paper propped up on the piano's music rack.
In a mindless trance, still staring at the blank sheets of paper my fingers plunk out a pattern of notes on the piano.
Then the voice inside my head interrupts.
"maybe I'll make some tea...that wold be nice...or get some apple juice? No! Concentrate on what you're doing..."
Back to the pattern. I love bass vamps, so I put the pattern in the bass register to see how that sounds.
The voice is back.
"that's dumb...sounds like everything I write...maybe I'll make some guacamole out of that avocado. I better use it up today..it's getting too ripe. FOCUS!!"

I close my eyes...fingers still dancing around on the keys like they have tiny brains of their own that are completely detached from the mother ship up above.
I see todays news behind my closed eyes.
Donal Trumps face. Yikes!
I open my eyes with a start and look down at the keys, trying to center myself again...trying to get back into the zone.


Writers block.

I close my eyes again...start thinking about something I read last night.
Empress Theodora, who was married to The Emperor Justinian in 527 AD was this amazingly strong woman who voiced her opinions to her husband about human rights. She made rape a punishable crime and fought against kidnapping girls and women into prostitution. She elevated the legal status of women to unprecedented levels giving women the right to own property.
We're talking about 527 AD!!  Things went forward for human rights for a minute then they went way backwards before inching forward again...and now can they be taking several steps backwards again? Really?

I open my eyes.

I found myself in that same trance hovered over the piano.

"Wow...there's a song in there somewhere...Maybe I'll go water the garden...or make that guacamole."

On another "note" altogether, check out my new Web Site which in progress but mostly finished, and go to the "Shows" link.  I have some Austin dates coming up soon! www.suzistern.com