Monday, September 10, 2007

I write the song.

I am consistently looking for new avenues to plug my writing into. I don't believe I am satisfied with doing just one form of writing, but usually several, all at once. It's a reason why I keep taking new writing classes. It's why I try to stretch myself with my poetry and look for deeper hidden meanings in the snippets of my own life that I write. I hope this is something that will never change with the passage of time.

My stepdad talked to me a few months ago and told me about a dream he had had. While he never felt pressed to go into details with me on it (perhaps they are still forthcoming?), he did say I should try my hand at being a songwriter. The idea came to him via his subconscious. While it's flattering that someone I care for and respect believes I can do this sort of thing, I tend to be more of a cynic. It just seems like songwriters are the dime a-dozen variety. To become good and well-known—to actually make your mark on the world—you have to be amazing. You also have to be well-networked. Such is the way of the world.

I've written a handful of songs over the years, but I've never taken it very seriously. Case in point: one of my very first was a song called "Beaver" that I wrote for my friend Genevieve. Scribbled it out in five minutes and recorded it with the help of my friend in one take. Its refrain is "Crazy lil beav-uh, you givin' me a feve-uh, youuuu make me a believ-uh." I even scream out "Ching Chong!" towards the end. See? Silly stuff.

Anyway. A couple of years ago, someone who I'd never met (and still haven't) was on the hunt for song lyrics. She asked if she could use a poem of mine to that end. I complied. I also promptly forgot about it until she decided to send it my way last week. She said she'd never sent it before because she hadn't perfected it. I mostly like it. And I enjoy her voice. And, while this doesn't mean I'm on the road to becoming a songwriter, not by any means, it does give me a small boost of confidence. The following is my poem, then her crafting of the poem into song form, then the real live song.

For what it's worth, I hope it's interesting to the lot of you.

She was the wee blonde thing in glasses
confident she could climb the tree
if she kicked it enough, if she talked to it enough
might take minutes inside of hours for days
before she got her kite down, its tail
expertly weaved through the branches
pink, bark, pink - like it was meant to be
like it wasn't really stuck
but a momentary found art
a semi-organic cross-stitch

I was the fountain-wet barefoot man
playing the fireman role minus an engine
and without a ladder
nixing the monkey crawling trick to its top
instead using tent poles to tug, poke, tug
the kite, hers, gently now, so's not to tear
and it came down to silent cheers
only because we believed it would

she'll need new string, but it's home for now,
she joins the family train headed towards dusk
it's leaving, left even, and she's skip-jogging
to catch her ride

Never got her name, that one,
but I fell apart inside when she walked a half-block back
to invite us to dinner, a thank you still warm
from her small town mom, exchanging
generosity for generosity.
She never expected we'd still be full.
Never figured us for saying no.

It Came Down (The St. George Story)

She was the wee small thing in glasses
Confident she could climb the tree
If she kicked it, if she talked to it enough
Might take minutes inside of hours for days

Before she got her kite down
Its tail weaved between branches
Like it wasn't even stuck
Just meant to be a momentary found art

And it came down
Just like we thought it could
It's comin' gently now
'Cuz we believed it would

I was the fountain-wet barefoot man
Without a ladder or an engine I played the fireman
Nixin' the monkey climbin' trick straight to its top
And with my pole, I pull and tug

And it came down
Just like I thought it could ....
She'll need new string
But it's home for now
As she joins her family that's leavin'
Never got her name
But she broke my heart the same
When she asked us to come with her OR
When she came back to invite us to dinner

(clickety click on the speaker to hear the tune)


tim & brandi said...

That's really nice, Dainon. I like the way you wrote it, but her changes really seem to work with the way she sings it and it sounds beautiful. Impressive.


ewesa said...

nice!! I like the uncommon subject matter with universal themes. good job!

bestsariah said...

I want to hear it. Really really want to. All I see is a white box though, so I can't. Will you email it to me please?

Dainon said...

Thanks, you two. And, Ms. Slade, it'll come to you in a flash. Unless, well, you put your cursor over the box. That's when the PLAY button usually shows up. Try it?

bestsariah said...

I tried and tried! I'm sad now.

bestsariah said...

Oh wow, I like that. It's sort of almost like Natalie Merchant. That's a good thing. Pretty pretty.

f*bomb. said...

I wish I knew how to send you clips of stuff from my iTunes... You'll have to call and give me a tutorial on it. Not only do I want to give you the song version of "A Little Time" by The Beautiful South, but now I want to send you this episode of a This American Life- there's a segment on song-writing and it involves Phil Collins and it is spectacular.

elise said...

Cool!! I just saw your blog- I'm glad you "mostly" like it:)