Saturday, April 14, 2012

Poetics: Subway Love Song(s)

wall art in Shockhoe

i wanna be a busker on the overnight
back n' forth from Queens

masturbate the neck
of my guitar & thrum strings across her
mouth in crazy love songs

to those at the end of their day, fresh
off a bar hop, on their way to work,
junkies or tourist, the girl with heavy eye
liner listening to her player, or the man looking
down shirt over her shoulder, all bare-
ly able to keep their eyes open or dozing,
another train whizzing by through greasy side windows
& i---

sing about the painting of the man
on the ceiling of the Rock-a-fella,
like Mona Lisa's smile, he leans
into you no matter where you stand,
a metaphor for the tides that bind things
along in-different astral planes, Unchained
Melody, Kiss' Beth, some Swell Season
like in Once, when he calls his wife & is
coming home---

grab the beat of the tracks, squeal of steel
and bend it round these chords to move
those that sit hard plastic seats or cling tight
pipes, riding rails at night, to the left or right,
off the fence they sit, the one they built,
around craters that once held hearts
stitched together by duct tape---

& i won't make much but when they dip
their pockets for change, i'll say keep it for your self
there's no need, take this seed and plant it deep,
make babies as crazy to believe the only thing
worth re-producing IS---

(strumming so hard my fingers bleed)

the spark that arcs at a touch, a glance, don't
waste your first in the hope of a second chance
Lazarus you stinketh of death, now
get off your ass & dance---

YeAh, see-ee-ee

 i wanna be a busker singing love songs
on the overnight back n forth from Queens

At dVerse today Claudia is running Poetics and still under the spell of NYC or maybe just under its skin a bit, in its veins. No one WAY streets on this SUBject, but tune in at 3 pm and bring your pen. Smiles.

I love street musicians and buskers. Seeing so many on my trip, I def romanticize their lot in life...and the movie Once is one of my all time favs as well....so I let myself get a little crazy with this fantasy ballad of being one of them.

78 comments:

Mary said...

Number one!

Claudia said...

nice...i like the song you sing here..wonderfully crazy and with always open eyes for the people around you to not only seeing but encouraging them as well to choose their paths wisely-- and this is one of the reasons why i have such high respect for you-- sing on-- smiles

Gloria said...

Brian I love music and this is so nice but I dont know why love songs make me sad....

Gloria said...

Mary normally you aleays are number one LOL

Mary said...

There are so many songs that one can sing. Songs for every mood, cause, occasion; and each song inspires its own dance! Strum on, Brian.

Mary said...

Gloria, LOL! Seems so lately. Then I return a second time with a REAL response! You're usually up near the top as well!

Lorraine said...

That's what I do when I'm thrown against the wall, I dance

the walking man said...

sometimes you got to sing and others dance as long as you like the tune, life is good.

DJan said...

Buskers are interesting to me, too. I love your imagery, well except for masturbating your guitar... :-)

otin said...

If I'm on the overnight train near Queens I would probably want to be a well-armed Busker. lol

ayala said...

Brian, I love this! :)

manicddaily said...

Hi Brian--(first = thanks for postponement! I have an jammed, if wonderful, weekend, and unexpected trip to Connecticut and beyond.)

Second, wonderful (re poem.) I especially like the arc of spark line, and the seed you'll give in place of money. In my experience, many buskers give some arc of spark, maybe not quite as electrifying or direct, but they generally also take money back.

K.

Gloria said...

Ha Mary sometimes I arrive early but usually you win me LOL

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

I love it... Reminds me of my first trip to NY with JC...

Nice choice of words too... :-) have a great weekend Sir Brian...

JJRod'z

Valerie said...

This is just fabulous. I sat with those SAME people every day on my local train and the buskers were always welcomed. Some real talent amongst them. Happy Saturday, Brian.

Daniel said...

I could almost hear the chords with this one. Good stuff here today.

Pat Hatt said...

Geez Mary and Gloria fighting over first
I'll have to be faster with my next burst
And relieve them of that
So I will be the top cat..haha

Seeing all around you
As the gawker power comes due
From the tunnels below
As you go around the NY show
Singing a song all your own
In your own tone
And I will admit
Once I have never seen at my pit
Will have to give it a look
And add to my movie nook

Daydreamertoo said...

Hehe... never knew you could do that to the neck of a guitar...haha
Fantasic visuals all through this Brian. I love street buskers too. In my home town they were all over the place and, some were really good.
As per usual, you've taken real life and turned it into something special in your own unique way of artistic word painting.
Marvellous.

Al_One said...

This is the second time in a month I've dropped this Nietzsche quote in a comment window: "Without music, life would be a mistake." I can't play any instruments, I'm just a listener. I can't even play a radio.

Grace said...

I love the words you sing today Brian. I rode the subway years ago and there are definitely stories that you can write about the people riding the commute.

See you later ~

Sue said...

The feel of this reminded me of a little bit grittier Joni Mitchell lyric.

=)

Adura Ojo said...

You definitely had my attention from the third line to the end, Brian. I found myself sitting up then! Nice one!

lifeisaroadtrip said...

I think it's incredible how you can get into other people's hearts and heads. You have a truly unique talent.

Gloria said...

Pat silly! we are not fighting with Mary only we talk is not matter to me be the first in nothing!LOL

FrankandMary said...

Is it ok for me not to care what number I am? ;-o

The best songs often do delve into the separations & hostilities between . . . .

ladyfi said...

Wonderful description of the joy of music and street musicians!

Magpie said...

And if you were a "busker", I'm sure you would be as successful and well-loved as you are for all your other endeavors. I have to say "masturbate the neck..." caused me to pause and think. Masturbate to me implies self gratification, but then maybe you wouldn't be playing for other's enjoyment as much as for self. Hmmm. Just made me think.

farmlady said...

Oh yes... this is good.
Reminds me of Ginsberg's Howl and and the "best minds of my generation...', Ferlingetti and the beat poets I read so religiously.
It reminds me of Berkeley coffee houses and City Lights Bookstore nights with artist friends being cool and playing guitars (and other things) in dark corners.

Maggie said...

Street musicians are probably one of the most creative. A good love song always makes me cry. haha The best sad love song to me, and my all time favorite is from The Moody Blues- Nights in white satin. I've only rode a subway once in my life, that was when I went to D.F, Mexico, unfortunately, did not encounter any streets musicians there. I think you you would make a great busker! ;) Awesome write!!

tony said...

I Can Hear The Clickerty-click of the journey!

Brian Miller said...

i wanted to try something different...i have written about the people on th subway often...even the buskers...but i def think it would be really cool to be one and brighten someones day...i know its a hard lot in life though singing for your next meal...

Brian Miller said...

gloria and mary you are cracking me up...smiles.

Brian Miller said...

oo nights in white satin is a great one maggie...i love street musicians...saw one in richmond yesterday not too far from where i took this pic....went to a street art festival with joanna of 10th muse too that was pretty amazing...

Brian Miller said...

oo nights in white satin is a great one maggie...i love street musicians...saw one in richmond yesterday not too far from where i took this pic....went to a street art festival with joanna of 10th muse too that was pretty amazing...

Myrna R. said...

I wish you sang to me, when I rode the subway. Not to and from Queens, but from Bronx to Brooklyn. Long ride, and I could have used wise words, and the seeds of wisdom chanted by a poet.

You and Claudia are into subways today and stirring memories, not always pleasant, for me.

Anne said...

This has such a gritty texture to it. And you're always so fearless in your word choices and in the pictures you paint. I'll have to have the Hubby read this, he'll like the image of the street musician.

Hannah said...

This one has a real hard/soft contrast-y metal/blood feeling to it for me, Brian. The music in the street matching and contrasting the music of the people, very rich. Thank you for this read.

Nara Malone said...

I live street musicians too. Loved these lines: masturbate the neck
of my guitar & thrum strings across her
mouth in crazy love songs.

Wondering if you've ever seen the Playing for Change stuff, like a musical collage of street musicians from around the world. Incredible. http://playingforchange.com/

Brian Miller said...

very cool hit nara....i am off to chase that link now...

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...Your poetic words rock!
"i wanna be a busker on the overnight
back n' forth from Queens"

...and are very descriptive and you have captured the sight and sounds very well...too!
"grab the beat of the tracks, squeal of steel
and bend it round these chords to move
those that sit hard plastic seats or cling tight
pipes, riding rails at night, to the left or right,
off the fence they sit, the one they built,
around craters that once held hearts
stitched together by duct tape---"

...I also like to listen to sounds Of street musicians.
Tks, for sharing [the image it compliments your [poetic] words]

I hope that you and your readers, have a nice week-end too!
deedee ;-D

Chris Lawrence said...

Brian loved it see what you mean and there is a great beat and rhythm to it, so aware of all that is about as well

Goat said...

The best thing is how you manage to put personality into the place and soul into the objects and noise. Perceptive description allows for heart (passion) to show, without being self-conscious.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Beautiful, Brian. You make the subway come alive, even for this ol' Texas dude!
Thought you might want to take aa look at this other bit of silliness I posted today.
http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/the-perfect-stranger/

Friko said...

look at the people around you, they're all listening to you play.

Mama Zen said...

This is one of your best, Brian!

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Wow. Could be interesting. Think I would prefer to stand at the back of the crowd though!

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Really like this, and it seems we both went for something musical... Just a hint of music in my case...

flaubert said...

Love this, Brian. I love the street musicians of NYC. I know I have fantasized about their lives, more than once.

Pamela

Anonymous said...

Love these:

"masturbate the neck
of my guitar"

"grab the beat of the tracks, squeal of steel"

rosemarymint.wordpress.com

Natasha Head said...

We've a fantastic Busker festival every year on the Halifax waterfront...alas, we have no subways :( Love the art you chose as well as the words you wove...

Fred Rutherford said...

Cool piece Brian. Love the continuity of rhythm and music throughout and have to love the initial verse, great choices man. Thanks

Joanna Jenkins said...

This was awesome-- I've taken the subway and trains in NYC countless times. You captured it perfectly.
Happy weekend, jj

poemsofhateandhope said...

Great observation brian- love the way you project yourself into the body of that busker....this just oozes music and passion and smells of the streets- man- I gotta go to NYC

Syd said...

I like the street musicians. Lots of talent for sure. Reminds me of that Joannie Mitchell song about playing real good for free.

Beachanny said...

I love them too Brian. This was jazzy and real - could touch the City through this work and it made me want to run away as almost every mention of it does. But here it's not just the music but the dance. Made me happy!

Nous said...

I especially love this part
"he leans
into you no matter where you stand,
a metaphor for the tides that bind things
along in-different astral planes,"
This sounds like a great performance piece x

hiroshimem said...

Oh, I so agree that music and art go well with the subway! I love your play on words and rhythm, such as in:
"...all bare-
ly..."
Brilliant.

Christine said...

I have so much respect for Buskers, vagabonds with a musical soul.

pandamoniumcat said...

Very lyrical, I can hear the music...lovely Brian and very clever stuff!

Blue Flute said...

Great poem, Brian. So many things I liked about it. The guitar edginess... your usual great internal rhyme and wordplay... the fantasy life as a busker (I didn't know what that was before this poem)... coming around to where you started. Good write.

Gary Poetrytech said...

Well, thanks for giving me a visual. I was going to practice "City of New Orleans" on the guitar after this, but maybe not- seriously, I could smell the hotdogs. Well done.

Tara Miller said...

This makes me want to visit a big city and hear the street musicians. Nice rhythm to this one, love.

chromapoesy.com said...

I love the passion and compassion you bring to this poem. Buskers have a special place in my heart too.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Omg, Love, the lines, and the feelings you had while you where there in the place as that person, spilling knowledge. I dig it.
http://leah-jamielynn.typepad.com/blog/2012/04/a-day-on-the-platform.html

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

That was delightful ... and not just because I live in Queens. :)

Dave King said...

A masterpiece! Nothing less. An absolute delight. busk on!

Charles Miller said...

This is definitely the NYC subway system I came to love/hate. Those people who sing on the platforms are the best, dealing with just so much joy and sorrow that it sometimes could fill that crater the city itself might hollow out. There just is so much, so much of every human weight, the gravity tries to pull you in like a black hole and shred you into atoms, but the song those songs hang lightly in the air and always seem to break free of the gravity. Great poem where we can see the big picture of the events that ride the rails.

Ginny Brannan said...

"...grab the beat of the tracks, squeal of steel
and bend it round these chords to move
those that sit hard plastic seats or cling tight
pipes,"

Brian, Your words have a knack for really capturing a moment. I absolutely love how you get into the heart and soul of what you are writing about. Especially liking the phrase I pulled above. This is wonderful!

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Your subway certainly looks a lot more lively then my travels around London! Was late when I wrote mine so now a video performance in place

^.^ said...

I share your love for street musicians with you, Brian ... sitting in the inner harbour of Vic, BC ... listening and watching ...

hedgewitch said...

Exhilarating, brian, and jumpy in both rhythm and image--perfect for a jostling swaying subway ride in urban chaos demarcated by the lines of each individual's ability to reflect his own little bit of order, whether on that guitar neck, or clasping the wall street journal like a talisman. Fine poem--sorry I couldn't get into or under the urban skin myself--it just ain't in me anymore--it's like a removed tattoo, just a blur of scar.

zongrik said...

i like the craters that once held hearts and also the arcs of sparks!!

Raivenne said...

Kudos Brian! Like many I've seen their world as the passer-by to their music. Now I have a few musical friends who busk on subways. Seeing this same world through their eyes as the musicians was an eye opener. The masturbation, the bleeding, the seeding - you've nailed this perfectly.

Laurie Kolp said...

grab the beat of the tracks, squeal of steel
and bend it round these chords to move
those that sit hard plastic seats or cling tight
pipes, riding rails at night, to the left or right,
off the fence they sit, the one they built,
around craters that once held hearts
stitched together by duct tape---

This has a lovely rhythm, Brian. You'll never guess what I saw in Austin concerning duct tape.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Ironic that one thing besides subways that our two poems had in common was "duct tape"; def odd but cool. If you had written about a busker from the Bronx, it would have been more BEEautiful. Great poem that smacks & dribbles of reality, not just some kind of
projected protracted imagery without intestines; this piece has guts & heart.

adeeyoyo said...

Wow, Brian. Wish I could visit NYC one day... at least your writing helps me see all the many pictures!

SueAnn Lommler said...

Ahhh...you captured the sights and sounds and feel on the subway!
Loved this
Hugs
SueAnn

Lydia said...

Your fantasy ballad is drawing applause and bows here. I would not have missed this ride with you busking for anything in the world!