Favorite Things · Music

Music Monday: The Cure – Standing on a Beach

As a poet, nothing has had a bigger influence on my life than music. I’ve been wanting to pay tribute to music I love by spotlighting an album each week. I have to start with Standing on the Beach by the Cure (also called Staring at the Sea), not because it was the very first, but because I can still listen to this album in its entirety today and feel just as connected to the music. These songs still feel like home to me. Strangely, it’s not about the lyrics exactly, it’s the feelings behind the music, the anger, isolation, sadness, restlessness, innocence, passion, confusion, love, happiness, mania, and resolution. It appealed to 12 year-old me and present day me.

2010s · Poetry

Sonic Screwdriver

for Josh

I wish I had a sonic screwdriver
I wish I had a magic wand
I wish I had a time machine
or pixie dust or a book of spells

I wish I had a genie lamp
I wish I had the holy grail
I wish I had a flying carpet
or a portal or an Atlantis key

I wish you were three
in the back seat of my car
singing an 80s Cure song

I wish you were sixteen
driving with me to open mic
singing an 80s Cure song

I wish my love was enough
I wish you weren’t there
I wish you and me were anywhere
far and away, anywhere else

Originally published in Carnival Lit Mag, 2014

2010s · 2014 · Poetry · Publications · The Unnamed Algorithm

January 1991

In the bathroom of that old theater
is where it started for us.
You stood by the sink
and we met eyes through the mirror.
I had cut my hair short,
dyed my blond hair black.
You were so heavy metal
with your endless platinum hair
and black suede boots with fringe
that made me resist you.
But I kept hearing rumors
that you liked my favorite bands
like The Cure and even Scattered Few.
You were my age
and the same height as me,
we were both on the threshold
of becoming women,
of defining our future selves.
Back in nineteen ninety-one
we’d come for the same reason
to hear the bands pour their hearts out
to bare their souls on the stage.
You must have understood it
the need to feel it raw
the bloody heart pulsing.
I looked through the mirror at you
in that bathroom in January,
the decade still fresh and undefined.
We talked about the band
the way we always would.
You smiled with uncertainty,
I smiled back in my arrogance.

Originally published on Cadence Collective

2010s · Poetry

Sonic Screwdriver

I wish I had a sonic screwdriver
I wish I had a magic wand
I wish I had a time machine
or pixie dust or a book of spells

I wish I had a genie lamp
I wish I had the holy grail
I wish I had a flying carpet
or a portal or an Atlantis key

I wish you were three
in the back seat of my car
singing an 80s Cure song

I wish you were sixteen
driving with me to open mic
singing an 80s Cure song

I wish my love was enough
I wish you weren’t there
I wish you and me were anywhere
far and away anywhere else

5-2-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Once we were angry youth…

Once we were angry youth
shaved heads and colored hair
When I saw you were tragic
I adhered to you
So many secrets to keep
so much truth to grasp
We made honest promises
and everything we felt
it was sacred
Velvet capes and monkey boots
it was The Cure and L.S.U.
Music sang so many things
we knew them all by heart
We sat against the stereo
volume up high
as if to absorb it
inhale its passion
the truth of it all
was in guitar strings
and piano keys
I was anchored to you
in the hurricane of our youth
We outlasted the storm
and the years became memories
and miles grew between us
You and I got regular haircuts
and wore practical shoes
Always and always
I swore to keep us tied
I’d be that solid girl
who cleaned up after
those natural disasters
But the tides have changed
and it’s you who set sail
you pulled up the anchor
and I am untethered
The current and our priorities
the list of things we hold as true
are no longer matched
Faithful wife of twenty years
I am still living alone
Mother of teenagers
I am the mother of none
Woman of the God
I no longer believe in
I know it was only loyalty
that tied us still
You hardly listen to music
and the song in my heart
is the saddest melody
I release you-though you’ve been gone
We are no longer angry youth
Will you return on another tide
Will time rise and fall
like the ocean waves
Will the anchors never sink
in the same deep waters
I am drifting out far
I know I can swim
But you were the only one
who knew the beginning and the end
long letters in pen and phone calls
salsa and bookstores at midnight
long drives to nowhere for the sake
of the songs on the stereo
and the promises and the secrets
we have none left to keep

3-3-13
Originally appeared on Jackie & Tanya’s Friendship Blog, 3-14-13

Favorite Things · Music

100+ Favorite Albums

I could and will add to this list as I go. This is not in order because that would be impossible to do.
1. Keith Green: Gold and Silver Albums (started my obsession with piano players)
2. The Cure: Standing on the Beach (beginning of the life long love affair)
3. Psychedelic Furs: All of This and Nothing
4. The Alarm: Strength
5. The 77’s: All Fall Down
6. Beck: One Foot in the Grave
7. Billie Holiday: Greatest Hits
8. The Sugar Cubes: Life’s Too Good
9. Buffalo Tom: Let Me Come Over
10. Toad the Wet Sprocket: Pale (emo has got nothing compared to this)
11. Carole King: Tapestry (damn feel good stuff)
12. Cat Stevens: Tea For the Tillerman
13. Bright Eyes: I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
14. Adam Again: Dig
15. Lifesavers Underground: This Is The Healing
16. XYMOX: Twist of Shadows
17. The Clash: The Clash
18. Scattered Few: Sin Disease (important for so many reasons)
19. Counting Crows: August & Everything After
20. Cranberries: No Need to Argue
21. Lost Dogs: Scenic Routes
22. The Cure: Head on The Door
23. David Bowie: Changes
24. Jawbreaker: Bivouac
25. The Decemberists: Her Majesty the Decemberists
26. Depeche Mode: Black Celebration
27. Ocean Blue: Ocean Blue
28. Mighty Lemon Drops: World Without End
29. The Crucified: The Crucified
30. Credence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (good moving music)
31. Beatles: White Album and Abbey Road
32. Dinosaur Jr.: Bug
33. Dramarama: Stuck In Wonderamaland
34. Echo & the Bunnymen: Ballyhoo (sexiest voice ever)
35. Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Best of…
36. Erasure: Pop!
37. Fiona Apple: When the Pawn Hits… (grrrl power)
38. A Flock of Seagulls: Best of…
39. Gene Loves Jezebel: Discover (guilty pleasure)
40. Oingo Boingo: Best ‘O Boingo
41. Pearl Jam: Vs.
42. Innocence Mission: Innocence Mission
43. The Cure: Wish
44. George Winston: December (only piano)
45. Indigo Girls: Indigo Girls (poets)
46. J. Mascis: Martin & Me
47. Yaz: Upstairs At Eric’s (great dance songs)
48. XTC: Waxworks
49. Jesus & Mary Chain: Automatic
50. Marvin Gaye: Anthology (seriously)
51. Moby: Animal Rights
52. Jewel: Pieces of You
53. Joe Jackson: Greatest Hits
54. Weezer: Pinkerton
55. The Replacements: Tim
56. Simon & Garfunkel: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
57. Red House Painters: Rollercoaster (sigh…)
58. Joy Division: Substance
59. New Order: Substance
60. No Laughing Matter: Monstor (for Bef)
61. Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark: Best of…
62. Natalie Merchant: Ophelia
63. Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes
64. U2: Unforgettable Fire (thanks to my sister)
65. Van Morrison: Bang Masters
66. Operation Ivy: Energy (hell yeah!)
67. Peter Gabriel: So
68. Postal Service: Give Up
69. Songs:Ohia: Magnolia Electric Co.
70. Mark Kozelek: White Christmas Live
71. The Smiths: Strangeways, Here We Come
72. Morrissey: Viva Hate
73. Pedro the Lion: It’s Hard to Find a Friend
74. Rilo Kiley: The Execution of All Things
75. Pet Shop Boys: Discography
76. Wedding Present: Tommy (you should know them)
77. The Pretenders: The Pretenders
78. The Cure: Disintegration
79. They Might Be Giants: Flood
80. Soft Cell: Say Hello To Soft Cell (happy music)
81. Randy Stonehill: Welcome To Paradise
82. R.E.M.: Eponymous
83. Public Image Ltd.: Greatest Hits, So Far
84. The Smithereens: Blown to Smithereens
85. Jane’s Addiction: Nothing’s Shocking
86. Harry Nilsson: The Point
87. Ayssandra Nighswonger (and all her incarnations)
88. Lost in the Trees: All Alone In An Empty House (obsessed)
89. Bat For Lashes: Fur and Gold
90. Bauhaus: Swing the Heartache
91. Beastie Boys: (various stuff)
92. Joy Division: Permanent (remixes in the right way)
93. Thursday: Full Collapse
94. The Frames: The Cost (damn good)
95. Mountain Goats: The Coroner’s Gambit
96. Sun Kil Moon: Ghosts of the Great Highway
97. The Specials: Singles Collection (don’t care if “singles/best of” is cheating)
98. Spandau Ballet: Singles Collection
99. Damien Jurado: Maraqopa
100. The Editors: An End Has A Start
101. First Aid Kit: Big Black and the Blue (perfection)
102. Sade: Best of…
103. Moldy Peaches: The Moldy Peaches
104. Swell Season: Strict Joy
105. Group Love: Never Trust A Happy Song (so pop, but addicting)
106. Placebo: Black Market Music
107. New Order: Brotherhood
108. The National: Alligator
109. Lucero: That Much Further West (The Pogues of The South)
110. Lost in the Trees: Time Taunts Me (must have)
111. Arcade Fire: Arcade Fire
112. First Aid Kit: Lion’s Roar (yes)
113. Kimya Dawson: Remember That I Love You
114. Dead Man’s Bones: Dead Man’s Bones (right on so many levels)