Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Chatter Tones


Son Bok Kim Died Suddenly (Longfellow, Emeryville, California): photo by efo, 18 October 2009


Rented room
ghosts murmuring under the dark blanket

in chatter tones
unheard melodies always more sweet

before jumping out that window
don't think twice
but give me all your money
so that I can throw it away for you

the wandering minstrel said

In his day job, he's a poet: photo by efo, 24 September 2009

Oakland Super Market: photo by efo, 11 October 2009

J. Alfred Smith, Sr. Training Academy, South Oakland: photo by efo, 11 October 2009

Abandoned church, Oakland: photo by efo, 11 October 2009


TC said...

Not that it would be relevant to anyone's career advancement to know, but... as to the window bit, I've never been able to rid the ancient cluttered cerebrum of the 12" version of this:

Aztec Camera: Jump (Loaded Version, 1984)

The title of the post plays gently upon the name of this poor lad, who in the lurid faux-romance of the death bed portrait appears to have rubbished all his faux-medieval poesies before quaffing from the beaker (a libation of arsenic, in historical fact) that has despatched him, at the tender age of seventeen years nine months, into a bilious sempiternal nescience. A lesson perhaps that shame and disappointment can, if one is not willing to wait long enough, usher one's name into the company of the Immortals. (Were they not such a pack of almighty bores, that might not be such a bad outcome.)

(The true-colour original of the painting is to be found in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery... not forgetting that here the hidden and entirely anomalous sister-city subtext lately is all Brum, all the time.)

Otherwise... and again I'm sure no one kind (or confused) enough to be stopping in for the customary contemporary eternity (that is, 0-to-5 seconds -- time is money, do let me throw some more of it away for you!) will have wanted to hang about this long for the (just possibly) factual desserts -- the rather bleak urban milieux pictured in this post by the piercingly honest eye of efo are located hereabouts, though likely not featured in the tour prospectus. Except, that is, as neighborhoods to at all costs avoid getting lost in.

(And finally, RIP Son Bok Kim... the life so short, but perhaps a mercy to go suddenly. Alone, sans warning, and without ever having been remotely famous. A karmic clean sweep.)

Anonymous said...

like the contradiction

Mose23 said...

The Wallis painting has that garish, near-kitch way with colour that the Brotherhood found so appealing. The best stuff of theirs was always at a tipping point. The way he's dolled up he wouldn't look out of place in the orginal Van Halen video.

The figure in the last line has a familiar, contemporary feel. "My catalogue is always long"

This is a wonderful, troubling poem. The ghosts are too audible.

Mose23 said...

Personally, I can't think of a better anomalous sister-city subtext to have but then I would be biased.

The photographs from efo always leave me knocked out.

Nin Andrews said...

All three are so sad--and moving. I love the photos and think they could be here in Ytown.

TC said...


Yes I do get that, Youngstown -- the ghost town feel of the ruined cities, unattended even by the archeologists (as yet).

And as WB suggests, these chattering ghosts, here, just can't be made to shut up.

The only way they can be chased out from under the dark blankets these long freezing nights is by the superior force of the principal feline prior claimant to the rental.


I suppose giving away all the money would require a second thought, just before the final thought -- so in that sense there is a somewhat nagging contradiction here -- sí, de acuerdo.

I think the wandering minstrel is offering to do the window jumper the sort of favour that can only be done by a friend, in a time of serious need.


Yes, the Wallis is that sort of bad which teeters on the brink of being pure genius.

Brummies have the art if not also the technology all over us, any more. (You'd find little of the latter at the Alfred J. Smith Training Academy, one fears.)

The Van Halen version of "Jump" with original lyric and lead vocal by D.L. Roth has always, to my mind, missed the point of its own great material. A nihilistic song performed in synth-pop arena-style by a dude with flowing curly locks and a transformed-reptilian demeanour that says Kiss me now, while you have the chance... odd.

Roddy Frame at least painted the frame back onto the window, and then jumped out.

Another version that's an interesting lurch in the evolution of the tune is this one from a band that views the material from a Northern European... er, shall I say drunk? ...perspective:

Trouble Boys: Jump (unplugged & acoustic)