Thursday, January 3, 2008

Greatest Hits Gallery--Alexa A.

That''s an acoustic version of "Yellow," first song played on MTV after the network resumed normal programming following 9/11. It's hard to write about popular music, especially in a fresh way that goes somewhere beyond a description of a song or the memorializing of a moment. Alexa's "Parachutes," inspired by the Coldplay album, starts out as, I think, primarily a memorial poem, but the images and evocative diction take it somewhere else. She refers mostly to the song "Always", a clip of which is below the poem.

Parachutes--Alexa A.

In a haze, a stormy haze,
the saltless smell of soggy
alewife corpses constrained us
to a summer behind glass.
Bright, yellow rafts and sunshiny
towels packed tight into a
too small basement closet
while we sprawled and spread
pages open. I can’t
remember if the hero won
his treasure because my
skimming eyes dove under
and around names and places,
trying to stream over pages
like dad did whole books.

The five of us nested
in our quiet corners
and the echoing slide of
fingers over strings and across
turning pages kept our
forgotten time, while the rain
sang, “I’ll be around,
I’ll be loving you always.”

Alexa also wrote a series of poems on Marc Cagall's "Above the Town," taking each one "deep and deeper contextually." An image of the painting and the third and final poem in the series is below. As earlier pieces move through place and history, this final poem is more intimate, a different kind of deep context.


How many girls did he touch
this way, before one shrouded
kiss with her froze time?—
a still life, like magic, takes form.

Aniouta was the first. He kissed
her as he pleased—once, twice,
today, and tomorrow—on benches
and in front of courtyard gates.

He timidly felt her uneven, pimpled
face and wanted nothing more.
But now her face blurs with
adolescence, obscured by Bella’s
“misty green touched
here and there with red”
tied in bouquet and clutched to her
breast by slender, timid fingers,
and he leaves his widowed church
up on the hill to fade into shadowy
forest and a faintly outlined bird
house he forgot to paint over.

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