Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Enjoy The Game

 —Poetry by Linda Klein, Playa Vista, CA
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

If I had to name a muse,
music is the one I'd choose.
A soothing song, a sweet sonata
stimulates cortex to medulla oblongata.

My fascination swims
in wild flourishes and whims,
swaying with the rhythm and the beat,
stirring my senses and moving my feet.

Rapturous sounds of wind and rain
capture my thoughts.  I need to explain,
to describe what it is how I feel.
The sizzle of the sun's warm kiss is real.

Chirping bird songs bring my words home.
It all comes together in a poem,
ringing, clinking, and clanging,
singing, jingling, and jangling.

The music of life's composing,
symphonies that lead to supposing,
random sounds pulled from the air
tell of joy and dark despair.

They are the soul of my inspiration,
the impetus for my imagination.


Near the end of our Westside Singers,
Harold, our director, had dementia,
which was quickly worsening.
His son drove him to rehearsals.
Harold's mental capacity had
diminished to a point where
he didn't know where he was, nor
who we were.  Our pianist, Patricia,
was slowly taking over the lead.

Chorus members were leaving.
When we were down to five singers,
I left too with a sad, empty feeling.
I remembered when I sang my first solo.

It was an unusual chorus in which
almost every singer sang solo
with the leader's encouragement.
I knew I must also begin to do so.
It was not in my nature to be one of
the few who only sang group songs,
besides, I had a good voice
by comparison to most, who were
more comical than musical.

Harold, himself, was not a singer.
He played the saxophone and
lead a jazz band, while Patricia had been
a club and bar singer.  She accompanied
herself on piano, but could be harsh,
hurtful, and stubborn with the chorus.

After three years as a member
of this unusual chorus, years of
self-goading and self-loathing,
I pushed myself to get the sheet music
for "Alice Blue Gown".  I didn't read
music.  It was for Patricia.  I handed her
the page at rehearsal.  She rolled her eyes.
I said I want to sing the intro, although
I've never heard it, another eye roll.

Patricia began playing what was on the page,
while I sang something else completely.
She slammed the keys with both arms,
uttering and muttering, "No, no, no."
"Just follow me," I said.  She glared at me,
but I started again, with what I thought were
clever hand gestures.  "I once had a gown.
It was almost new.  Oh, the daintiest thing.
It was sweet Alice blue."

Patricia laid her head on the keys and
banged them, screaming, "Shut up!"
Harold never interfered in an argument
between women.  She won out.  I omitted
the intro, but kept my hand gestures.
Some of which were doozies.

From then on, I sang a solo in every show,
slowly becoming accustomed to the exposure
by pretending there was no audience.
They became a myopic blur, dissolving
into their seats.  I looked out at empty chairs
until I heard applause, then I bowed.  "Thank you."


Life is a game, a serious one.
To play it well, know yourself,
your strengths, your limits.

Consider goals.  Find allies.
Know your opponents.
Learn the rules.  Play fair.

Be prepared to lose.  Try again.
Defeat is not an option.
Keep moving forward.

Give it all you have
for as long as you can.
Play the game to win.

Enjoy the game.


Today’s LittleNip:

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

—Friedrich Nietzsche


—Medusa, with thanks to Linda Klein for her fine poetry and to Joe Nolan for the fine flower photos he found for us for this May Day, 2024!


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