Thursday, January 3, 2008

Greatest Hits Gallery--Blade B.

What happens in the spaces between tunes on a familiar album? Blade's musical ekphrastics sit in the spaces between the melancholy songs of Nick Drake, a singer-songwriter referred to by some as "the patron saint of the depressed." I think, though, and Blade's poems suggest this, that there's more to the music and the singer than that static description. Here are two of the short poems that comprise Blade's project, all working with cuts from "Bryter Layter."

"Bryter Layter: Side A"

Nick was sitting all night with his guitar in his lap
his hair draped
over his shoulders
and his yellow-laced shoes laid
before his feet.
His face has faded
over the last thirty years
within that purpled background

I remove him from that spot and lay him on the table
letting the needle give voice to his now unbreathing lungs

Somehow he steals the sun rise
in the arc of his friend's violin
and his guitar pours
his melancholy in my ear

He's searching for a place to be he says
within his prattle of sailors and signposts
all pointing to that hazey girl
looking out a window
into the crowded morning

"Bryter Layter: Silence"

Where is our depression Drake?
I can't hear it
over the trumpets and drums
they layered on your voice

The needle crackles on the silence sitting between us
Our introspection hangs on the end
edging against the side of the still turning vinyl

I flip you over
and ask the question again
I think our answer
will be different this time

And here's Drake's "Northern Sky," followed by Blade's poem on the singer.

"Nick Drake, on a Monday Morning"
We're asking you to tell us
what went wrong and why
you were found half-naked in bed
next to a drained bottle with some pills
spilled on the shelf that was home to Keats,
Blake, and a copy of Hamlet.

Just three hours ago
your fingers plucked the strings
and turned the knobs.
Relaxing your left hand as you strained
to hear the exact pitch you needed
to cluster every chord on the frets.

You crafted a new poem in your head
heard only by the walls
in your quiet room.
You planned to record
tomorrow morning.
Right after breakfast.

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