Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas And Trees #1: Empty Lot Trees

This year I didn’t buy a Christmas tree
because when I put up Christmas tree lights
the bright colors make for such pretty sights
I leave them up for months. It beats TV.

By a simple kind of metonymy
regular trees reaching much higher heights
than home trees stand-in for store-bought delights
and become Christmas trees for all to see.

The six Christmas trees by the empty lot
that recently was a department store
are ornaments, too, a kind of display,

grass, bushes, trees, adding life to that spot,
saying to the rubble: This far, no more.
The lesson for wreckage of Christmas day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Christmas And Trees #2: Cézanne Trees


I didn’t buy myself any extravagant presents this year. No new guitar or synthesizer or camera or gadget of any kind.

I did a couple of pointless, indulgent things, though.

For instance, I’ve gone over to YouTube a lot and I’ve just wasted time watching a little video from 1988 of some old hippies doing a song from the late 60s.

If that isn’t indulgence I don’t know what is!

The video doesn’t embed, but if you click on the picture it links right to the YouTube page. That’s Paul Kantner and Grace Slick performing a short version of one of my favorite songs, “Wooden Ships.” Kantner wrote the song along with Dave Crosby and Stephen Stills. CSN&Y released a version back at the very end of the 60s, and Jefferson Airplane released a version. The Airplane version was the one I always loved, because it was such an amazing arrangement—a song with dialogue, with one of the voices being Grace Slick, the most incredible woman rock singer ever.

It’s a lost world now.

Kantner and Slick, together and individually, have written many of my favorite songs of all time. I’ve linked to Kantner before, when I did a post of myself playing “Have You Seen The Stars Tonight.” And I mentioned Grace Slick in the title of my post Egyptian Queen, Grace Slick, Beyond Apollo.

When I was a kid, nine or ten years old, these two were sort of my ideal people: The hippie guy, the hippie girl, great musicians, very cool, very passionate. (And, of course, it’s like Clapton and Boyd—even though nothing was what it looked like, it looked so cool that maybe the looks were more important than the reality. I don’t know. Those images are still ideals for me.)

These two have led eventful lives. At one point they were as famous as rock stars could be, and were sometimes described as the American ‘John & Yoko.’ They never were married to each other, but for a few years they were a couple and had a child together.

But then Grace Slick left Paul Kantner so she could marry one of the band’s roadies.

Of all the break-ups I know about, I can’t imagine how Kantner got through that one. Losing Grace Slick? To a roadie? I can’t believe Paul Kantner is still alive. I don’t believe I would have made it.

When Kantner brings Slick on stage for this little reunion clip, he introduces her by saying, “We’d like to have a guest singer join us here for just a brief moment. My ex-wife. The mother of my child. The devil incarnate.

And everybody laughs.

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