Song-of-the-Week #12: Perigee Moon

Here’s a preview of song #12, “Perigee Moon”:

perigee full moon

falling in love whilst traveling…
written during the florid perigee moon of this past June.
(next one occurs April 22nd, 2014.)
zither, harmonium, vocals recorded & mixed by Diane.
thanks to Ken for mastering.

thinking of you
perigee moon
hangs over me
over the road
so ripe and full
leading me on
dusk until dawn
perigee moon

i flew for days
north unto south
‘wish i could stay
close to your mouth
if i lived in your town
i’d be around
wax till we wane
tenderest pain
thinking of you…

thinking of you
perigee moon
hangs over me
over the road
so ripe and full
leading me on
dusk until dawn
perigee moon

you let me play
close to your heart
tending the garden
we love and depart
in quiet profound
each homeward bound
nothing is turning our journeys around

salmon & gold
perigee moon
ruddy with blood
huger than huge
that’s how she goes
perigee friend
emerging and merging and sinking again
emerging and merging and sinking again

* * *Check out XARNDA’s remix of the song* * *


Reflections ? Projections ? Direxns… →

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Song-of-the-Week #11: “Love You This Much”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “Love You This Much”:

There are many songs dedicated to romantic love.  This isn’t one of them !  Romantic love, I might say, causes an enjoyable stir, is pleasing to one’s sense of aesthetics, even ornamental, and perhaps a kind of training ground for deeper love commitments.  On the deep side I’m thinking of the way it feels to embrace a challenging situation or person, even oneself, knowing you’re there to stay, unprepared as one may feel.  I wrote “Love You This Much” from inside this feeling.

A few nights ago my friend Ash Devine blew through town, riding a current of Appalachian folksong and her own sweet melody.  We recorded this sitting across from each other, one mic, late at night after our show at Magnolia House.  I’m singing & playing nylon-string guitar; Ash accompanies me on vocals & baritone ukelele.

Thanks as ever to Ken(‘s Last Ever) for mastering help.

spring leads me to the plough
i love you so much i don’t even know how
i love you so much i don’t even know how to love you this much

big field before me now
i love you so much i don’t even know how
i love you so much i don’t even know how to love you this much
but i long to learn
i long to learn so i keep in touch…

a few steps into the field
with blades so sharp but the ground won’t yield
you’d think it cut deep but the ground won’t yield
time it takes to wonder why
there’s a flash and a crash and an opening sky
cryin’ down tears where once was dry
little seeds sprout in me now
how…

spring leads me to the plough
i love you so much…
little seeds sprout in me now
i love you so much…

Sparks ?  Thoughts to share ?  Ruminatory expanses await you… →

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Song-of-the-Week #10: “The Power of Allowing and Receiving”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “The Power of Allowing and Receiving”:

my friend Grey Revell inspired me to finish this one.  i wanted to make the most of the opportunity to record with him while he was in town, also i’d been wanting to write a country song.  Grey graciously accompanied me on guitar and left me his little amp to boot !  somehow i’ve played music all this time and never owned an amp.  experiments to follow…

as i lay bathing
in the blazing mountain heat
no, there was nothing
between the sun and me
except the shadow
of an incidental bird
who kept on circling
to ensure i wasn’t hurt
it hung in the sky
and kept me in its shade
so once i’d gone inside
on my skin i found its shape
in pale relief now
i am believing
in the power of allowing and receiving

in the power of allowing and receiving
something came to carry off my grief-thing
like it was nothing
i am believing
in the power of allowing and receiving

riches from the hands
that long to share their gold
if you’d just loosen up
that old white-knuckle hold
that binds the burdens
closer than you might would guess
just set ‘em down now
dance around in a pretty dress
sung out to the sky
a song from balled-up roots
you’re bound to catch reply
as sure as trees yield fruit
their leaves are shining
i am believing in the power

the power of allowing and receiving
somehow it carries off my grieving
like it is nothing
i am believing
in the power of allowing and receiving…
receiving…receiving…

live sound recording & video by Ken’s Last Ever.

Comments ? Ideas ? Stories to share ? →

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Song-of-the-Week #9: “Roma”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “Roma”:

Ro-ses. Diane Cluck

roses in the corner. photo by Diane.


the ideas expressed in “Roma” arrive via my current experience as an American.  it’s become common for people to leave the town they grew up in and never go back. it’s become common to move hundreds or thousands of miles for a love relationship, work, or personal growth and adventure, perhaps multiple times throughout one’s life.  there’s great potential for beauty in all of this mobility, yet it’s also challenging.  i’m pondering how it came to be so common, or even possible.

my best guess is a combination of three factors:  the shaky privilege of petroleum-based travel, with the controlled deflation of travel costs make it appear normal-ish to live hours or even countries away from loved ones.  last generation’s big sell on ‘college as necessity’, with colleges as businesses that compete for students around the world.  many people following the trail of a good, better, or any, job.

as i move about, in my mind i sometimes hear “Love The One You’re With” by Stephen Stills, its sentiment expressed in the lines “if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with”…applying this idea to people, to work tasks, to wherever i happen to be.

piano for this song was a white-key improv that i recorded, adding vocals later.
thanks to Ken for mastering.

i love her so much
i can’t believe i hardly ever see her–
it doesn’t seem right
she’s always right there by the phone,
the kind that’s connected to her home

how we move from the families
pullin’ roots and diggin’ new seeds
when each tree is a world could be known,
why leave ?  before they’re even grown ?

i long to settle
i’m feelin’ tired
i don’t own here
i’m a renter
i go where the work is
where the friends are
where my dogs at ?
they’re howlin’ in the car

you think it’s easier in the new place
warm weather and more space–
huh
between you and those you love
your push-off gets to feelin’ like a shove
’cause when they fall sick
or you feel down
so many hours between each town
and help’s to be found everywhere
but it takes time to weave a net with care, yes

and i long to settle
i’m feelin’ wired
still i roam here
left of my center
though i know what my work is,
who my friends are…

i’m gonna settle
drop my bones here
send down the root stock
through the bedrock–
but where my dogs at ?
hey, where my dogs at ?
where are my dogs ?
they’re howlin’ in the car

diane cluck roma

car-toon by Diane.

Comments / ideas / stories to share ? →

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Song-of-the-Week #8: “Love-Letter Launches”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “Love-Letter Launches”:

some years back i was pacing around my neighborhood in Brooklyn, something i did (and still do) when working out song lyrics.  a quiet little triangle by the BQE.  pretty much no one around.  i imagine the mayor of the block, Fred, mounted on his stoop, blinking and puffing away.

during one of my stormy laps i looked up to see Devendra Banhart coming from the opposite direction.  we stopped on the sidewalk, shared a big hug and walked on.  i wrote this song for him that day, though i never played it for him or anyone else.  i came across the lyrics in a notebook recently and worked the chord structure into being.

Update 5/15/13: New live video recording of “Love-Letter Launches”

corpses full of ovum
and coffins full of semen
infant possibilities
that never came to breathing
debriefing this debris-thing
in which my mind was steeping
while walking i was sleeping
a really dark and deep thing
and you happened on me streetside
on this downside of amazing
in a weak phase of the moon for me
you caught me on your upswing
so swung into the arms of you
a shotput at yr shoulder
you hold her she’s not heavy
just a gently worn-out sister
and your love-letter launches me
into the day from which i had been holding back
your love-letter launches me
into the day from which i had been holding back
there’s nothing like a brother
there’s nothing like a neighbor
nothing like the unexpected
lovely daily saviour
a doing-nothing comfort
no effort in its labor
your eyes tell me a thousand jokes at once
and though we haven’t spoken
your love-letter launches me
into the day from which i had been holding back
your love-letter launches me
into the day from which i had been holding back…

Diane Cluck-here for love

drawing from gallery (dianecluck.info)

i prithee, what say you ? ( thoughts to share ? ) yes, please ---->

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Song-of-the-Week #7: “far too witchy”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “far too witchy”:

other than some years spent in New York City (where i enjoyed its well-known invisibility factor), i’ve lived in small towns where it doesn’t take much to stand out.  in making “far too witchy” i spent time recounting the kinds of regular activity others take notice of.

the song was a real pleasure to write, but i found that underneath i was harboring some hurt about being perceived as (as well as my perception of myself as) an outsider in various places. as i dug in, i found some reactive material around my time in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a little village i moved to for the possibility of being closer to nature (the green kind).

there was both suspicion and interest in my presence there, a woman in a house alone. my habits were unusual enough (though they mostly involved being visible, and walking around) that the police took notice…did the old slow-roll by my house, or past me on the street.  i remember walking into the bank as a man rolled down the window of a black car to let me know “we’re watching you”…

November moons. photos by Ken's Last Ever (left) & Diane (right).

there’s interesting perspective in being an outsider, though, too.  the process of writing the song coaxed me to find the humor in it, and was a way of engaging with the plot of an old human drama in which people see other people (perhaps initially) as ‘other’.

song written / performed / recorded by me, and mastered by Ken

people say she’s far too witchy–
growin’ a bean vine, stringin’ a clothesline
wonder who’s she ? go have a look-see
sunnin’ her behind out in the sunshine

she grows mad hair, no man goes there
well, i saw one go–he din’t come back, tho !
oh ! she don’t need them ? maybe she eat them !
what’s with these folks’ gossip & mean jokes ?

she gonna getcha, better run right by
her kind are no good and at night they fly
i seen her dancin’ under big dark sky
when there’s ripe moon
she wails her tune
i seen her sweepin’ with her riding broom

people say she’s far too witchy–
knobby knees & hanky-sneezes
‘wonder who’s she ? go have a look-see
talkin’ to trees and sniffin’ at breezes

she got no phone, she lives alone
rich & crazy or poor & lazy ?
she’s kickin’ a stone, she’s pickin’ a bone
what’s with her, y’all ?  ‘sticks in my craw !
she got no car, that witch fly far !
she takes the bus, don’t make a fuss
she’s a renter–’wonder who sent her ?
‘wasn’t me, no, she’s doin’ no harm, tho…

people say she’s far too witchy–
‘wonder who’s she ?  go have a look-see
people say she’s far too witchy–
‘wonder who’s she ?…
‘wonder who’s she ?…
‘wonder who’s she ?…
‘wonder who’s she ?…

Impressions welcome !→

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Song-of-the-Week #6: “trophies”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “trophies”:

Atlas Trophies beside the Pulaski Bridge in Brooklyn, NY 2011. photo by diane

the first stanza of “trophies” has been with me for a few years.  it came while i was riding the B62 bus from Greenpoint to Long Island City, as we passed by an extinct trophy shop at the foot of the Pulaski Bridge.  i began thinking about those kinds of places–there seemed to be a few around while i was growing up.  their window displays felt mysterious and valuable.  trophies i encountered were fairly chintzy, though many were a mix of both marble and metal-covered plastic.

 

Meddlesome Lab in Rochester, NY, 2012.       photo by diane

i’d been wanting to develop the theme of this song, and with my current feeling being ‘divest of the old’ it felt like a good time to do so. i began thinking about what my personal collection of trophies includes. what junky things do i carry around that are weighing me down ? i’m considering trophies as any award, reward, or point of pride which may be getting in the way of personal growth–roles outgrown, titles, status, attributes or possessions that one over-identifies with. clutter that wants to clear for a renewed sense of adventure about oneself and the world / in the world !

“trophies” was recorded at Serious Business Music in NYC.  i had the pleasure of working with Travis Harrison, who engineered the session, and Isabel Castellvi, who improvised and then honed her accompaniment on cello.  vocals + guitar by me, D.C.  i wrote, arranged, and helped mix the song.

Update: We rerecorded this song at Trout Recording for my new album, Boneset, but liked this version enough to keep it for the album. ((( Pre-order Boneset here )))

i went to the warehouse to trade in my trophies
they scratch off the names and they buff up the plates
and then put the blank bodies back up in the window
awaiting engravings of winners & dates

it’s so nice to see you !  hey…hey, don’t i know you ?
tender green shoots of you grow through the yard
medals hung heavy, my neck wouldn’t let me
so i gave them up good though the giving was hard

i went to the warehouse to trade in my trophies
trumpets and ribbons
my trove and its trimmings

and it’s so nice to see you
hey…hey, don’t i know you…

how good it feels here in this place
pass up the goal for the view now
something opens up
i take in space
yeah

fine example of a trophy shop with invisible bling, in Syracuse NY, 2009. film photo by diane, thanks to Mike & Jerry

Ideas ?  Questions ?  Thoughts to share ?  Willkommen ! →

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Song-of-the-Week #5: “red August”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “red August”:

i wrote “red August” while driving home from Bellair Farm the other day.  every week or so a new color of wildflower emblazons the roadside.

photo: red, antlering up in the form of staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina). eat him! lemony.

we’re into white now, too, with lots of Queen Anne’s Lace (aka, wild carrot or Daucus carota.  one of my faves.  those who don’t know her might be interested in her long history of usage as a contraceptive.)  in many places right now both blossoms and seed heads are in season.  eat her!  in a tea, or salad, or battered & fried.  carrot-y.

( please note: this flower is similar in appearance to poison hemlock.  make sure you or someone you trust can positively identify Queen Anne’s Lace before ingesting ! )

photo: queen of carrot flowers...the largest i've seen...from Stone Mountain, GA

i recorded vocals, drums and keyboard for “red August”.  Ken gave mastering help.

we pick & pack a knapsack
full of staghorn sumac
silver underbellies show
as leaves in the wind blow

so we make a little picnic stop
in the red clover cover crop
as sun beat our bones down
buzzard drones wing around

red August
it’s hottest
the pale blue chicory’s
all gone withery

red August
it’s hottest
came and blasted the grass
that grew so fast

how does she walk on the side of this road
where there’s no shoulder there to hold her ?
it’s so hot and dry on this road
find your water, zombie daughter
drivers flying blind on this road
head for the ditches, scare up some witches
green as it’s gonna get
summer isn’t over yet

we make a little gang of three
as she tumbles in our cup of tea
we leave behind the fallow field
for berries that the brambles yield

middle summer in the south
these berries ripen every mouth
so kissin’ leaves a bloody stain
burnin’ August in the brain

red August
it’s hottest
the pale blue chicory’s
all gone withery

red August
it’s hottest
came and blasted the grass
that grew so fast

Share some thoughts ?  yesssss →

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Song-of-the-Week #4: ( four poems ): Preview & Discussion

Diane says: the poems in these recordings date from 2001-2003, the time when i was making “macy’s day bird”, “black with green leaves” and “Oh Vanille / ova nil”.  if you know these albums you may hear some crossover.  people have referred to “macy’s day bird” as ‘literary’, and now i’m making the connection to how i was still very much a writer at the time.  i gradually transitioned away from written poetry as an expressive form the more i sang.

the recordings, as sent to Song-of-the-Week subscribers, are all brand new.  it was interesting for me to notice how my voice sounded and felt on different days, depending on my mood or energy level.  on some days it was really dry and the mic picked up lots of weird mouth sounds.  i kept drinking lemonade.

these poems were all previously unpublished, with the exception of “ride your trophy high…”, which was read by André Herman Dune (Stanley Brinks), or perhaps an alias, on one of his albums…’not sure which, as he’s legendarily prolific…

( click titles to read )

i was a widow
before i met my first husband
i’d seen our nine children grow and die
witnessed weeds push up the floorboards
to grip their empty houses
and i knew next time i would be a lover
but this time i was born a widow
with widow’s eyes

in languor she raises her cup
gold splashes over her face
delighting her skin already delighted
no spill is wrong
no collapse unwelcome
birds involve in dance overhead
let fall petals
let fall twigs they gathered to nest
all will sacrifice need to her
her womb is a goldmine
her dress, homespunsunshine

( gentle attendants in pale blue suits
drift like clouds through the afternoon )

sun spilling out of her cup
sun spilling out of her hands
i love to watch her
covered over by the mouth of a man
suckling her sunshine
drawing her out

tree fruits wish to rapture her
sunhot cherries bleed from the boughs
and capture her shoulders
painting her fiery
painting her martyred
sexless attendants swing round and past
she holds their thrall in effortless court
her needs never peak
they are met in their greenery
she is the focal explosion of scenery
she has created this fresh world
her laughter buoys the birds
and tips them over in flight
les oiseaus roll over and over in the sky
and fall to her hair, laughing
deliriously nesting
forgetting their work
dedicating chirpy songs to her ears

grass leans flat
under press of her feet
springs and prickles erect at her leave
straightening taller its blades in their green
all feels blessed to sing in this key

ride your trophy high
or troll your netting low
this is my capture and escape
this is my dumb-show

i am imitating what is good
but i am not good
i am acting what is bad
but i don’t feel it

ease the lucid prick
a jape in the thigh, real slow
a trick with a bull and a cape
sunspots and afterglow

i am imitating what is good
but i am not good
i am acting what is bad
but i don’t feel it

seated by the window, unplucked
a dark juice promise he gazes, unburst
a full, black berry to turn in the mouth
a trickling out that grazes the thirst

and what if i pick him like the king ?
who takes the chambermaid at night
as croppers share their cherished crop
with locust swarm and early blight

and what if i roll him like the queen ?
who pulls her fruit from underneath
and brings it round, displayed in white
to dynamite between her teeth

and what if i raze him like the prince ?
in tilling over peasant soil
conquering the space between
the mud and seed to make it royal

but then he tricks me like the knave
who hides away the fruit he’s shown
by stealing back the look he gave
the head and heart together groan

ah boy, you are so quiet
so lovely where you sit
boy, you are so quiet
so lovely where you sit

Thoughts to share ? / discuss →

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Song-of-the-Week #3: “soft little reach-out”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “soft little reach-out”:

as well as some sketch audio of the original idea:

artwork by Denis Kravets of Kiev, Ukraine. (i-am-favn.com)

Diane says: i’m enjoying playing piano again.

“soft little reach-out” was recorded on an old upright in a barn in France, and an old baby grand in an Episcopal church in Virginia.  (thank you, Sierra & Sam, for making these available.) i recorded and mixed, and Ken mastered.

the birds liked it; it’s a love/wonder song.  about the smallest gesture of invitation manifesting true things.  my first time adhering to a drum machine, the fun was pulling phrasing all around its squareness.  i kept imagining this playing at a Sunday afternoon tea dance, with everyone feeling woozy, friendly and connected from the night before.  what you think ?

a soft little reach-out from me, that’s all
ha nih nai yeh yo ai
snake thrashing muscle through the wild wild grasses
hey, her music keeps me up all night

she shimmers down, she weighs down
on rays of embered moonlight
an arm around her waist i row
row to the other side

a soft little reach-out from me…

Join the discussion ! queries, musings, opinions WELCOME →

update: some remixes happened !

“soft little reach-out” remix by XARNDA:

“soft little reach-out” remix by the bail of saint mark:

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