Monday, August 28, 2017

Music Monday ~ The Poet and Janis

Patricia Spears Jones, African American award-winning poet, born in Arkansas in 1951, has lived most of her adult life in
New York. One of her poems:

Swimming to America—Half-moon Sky

Esther Louise and I were talking about Janis Joplin. We were talking about
how Janis Joplin sang as if she found a pain so wide it wounded her.
She sang loud and harsh. But the wound was big. The wound would not heal.
She sang as if nothing nothing could cauterize that wound.
She sang as if only only she knew the way to heal this wound was to burn.
Daily dousing flames from her mouth. Daily striking matches to her mouth.
She sang as if the only only way she could make her face
remove every trace of plainness was to burn burn burn.
She sang so hard and long and loud she came as close as she could
to the pain of those songs made in boxcars, juke joints
outside vaudeville tents home to deviants degenerates and the generous
family of hustlers, some of them women torched by the freedom of the road.
Oh yes, Esther Louise said, “that white girl can sing the blues.”
Janis sang as if only only she could sweep away dry Texas air and burn
out like a nova leaving traces of wild hair, Indian bracelets all the
way up her arm. Her neck wrapped in layers of beads from Persia,
beads from Navaho land, beads from West Africa.
When I first saw Ntozake Shange, I thought, Janis Joplin.

From Bomb Magazine.

Link to the poet's own website:

I felt sure I'd written a post about Janis Joplin, with astrology, but if so it has sunk without trace, wrongly tagged perhaps, in the archives. Janis was mentioned in a post I wrote after husband and I had visited his younger daughter and grand daughter in Austin, Texas, years ago - that one is HERE.

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