Monthly Archives: November 2013

A little tune about Herland

If Herland was a comedic Broadway play, this is a little tune I wrote for it:

(“Herland” – a Broadway tune written by me)

Males: Herland!

Females: Herland!

All: What is to become of HER?

Solo Male 2: Is it like Themyscira?

Solo Male 1: Is Aphrodite and Diana here?

Males: For two thousand years it was SHE, SHE, SHE!

Females: Strong as any HE, HE, HE!

Males: Short hair! Long pants!

Solo Male 1: The only curves were in the land!

Females: Education!

Lead Female: No reproduction without it!

Males: Education!

Solo Male 2: No man, no hog, no man’s best friend

Solo Female 2: Not even some little Lepidoptera…

All: Only Education is important in… Herland!

Solo Male 2: I will serve and protect!

Lead Female: Will not!

Solo Male 3: I will conquer and win!

Lead Female: Will not!

Males: It’s Herland!

Solo Male 1: New language, new clothes, new country, new fortress!

Solo Male 2: New land!

Males: HERland!

Solo Male 3: Now we must plan our escape.

Lead Female: Don’t think so.

Solo Male 2: But our biplane is covered in a giant cape…

Lead Female: You must master our mastering.

Males: We must obey.

Solo Male 3: We must discover their secrets of reproductivity…

Solo Male 2: We must befriend and seduce…

Lead Female: Now all of their attention is He, He, He,

Not one, not two, but three –

NONE is enough for me!

Solo Female 1: I got my eye on…

Lead Female: Enough!

Solo Male 1: I got my eye on…

Lead Female: Enough!

Males: We’ve got our eyes on Herland!

Females: They have their eyes on Herland!

All: All the eyes are on Herland!

Solo Male 2: I got my eye on HER!

herland

Interview with Babaloo – Punk Mambo

This was an interview I did in 1998 for Break Magazine, a college newspaper in Tallahassee, with Babaloo, a Boston-based band.

If you’re looking for a fun, freaky, and totally unique band to see, then Babaloo is the band for you. The music could best be described as a one-of-a-kind mix of punk, mambo, reggae, ska, and samba, and is sung in several different languages, including English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Portuguese, and Swahili. In addition to music, sometimes the band invites others to perform along with them, including magicians and dancers.

Punk+Mambo

In order to fully appreciate what the band offers you must go to see them for yourself. [Babaloo performed at Yianni’s in March 1998]. You can even get a small sample of Babaloo’s music on their website:

http://www.punkmambo.com

Even people from as far as London are recommending for others to see the band. “The band is outstanding,” said Steven Wolfe, 32, an attorney from London who recently saw Babaloo perform in Key West. “They music is iconoclastic, they have high energy, and the audience participation was the best. I want to try to get them to come to London.”

Trumpet player Marc Chillemi referred to the band as the “Babaloo family circus”, where “fun and deception” occur. Apparently, Marc isn’t the only crazy member of this multicultural circus. The seven solid members of the band sat down and conjugated the answers to the following questions:

Q: How did your band form, and when?
A: Destiny in the Jamaican Plains where we were all living and hanging out in 1995.

Q: Your music involves different languages. How do you decide what language to use with which song, etc., or does it just flow out of you that way?
A: Precisamente.

Q: Would you say that your music has a particular theme or message, and what would it be?
A: It’s important to be nice, but it’s nicer to be important. What’s mine is mine, what’s yours we split.

Q: What is the best thing about touring? And the worst?
A: All of the traveling. The touring is the worst.

Q: You have said that you have “loonies of all kinds” that are attracted to your music. Have you ever had a bad experience with a loony?
A: We went to play a club in Bar Harbor, got in an argument with the club owner, and he threw a keg at our bass head, Slim “Family Man” Goodbody.

Q: Where are your favorite places to play?
A: Outside places, festivals, New York City.

Q: Which bands/performers have influenced your music?
A: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilara, Mandy Moore, and Sam Mangwana

Q: With so many members in the band, do you find it difficult agreeing on things, and how do you handle it?
A: Paper, scissors, rock.

Q: What do you think is the main thing that keeps the band members together?
A: Pot.

Q: What are the bands goals for the future?
A: We only smoke blunts if they’re rolled paper.

Q: Is there anything you want your audience to know before they come to see you play?
A: One for $15, two for $20.

Inspirational Poster: A Splash of Color

“Sometimes all you need in life is a little splash of color.” 

Winter is a time of year when things are often grey. Trees are bare, the sky is colorless, and things are generally “blah”. If you’re feeling the winter blues, buy yourself some fresh flowers. A little splash of color can make a world of difference and put a smile on your face.

Click to order poster.

Pooch – a before and after poem

Pooch

Wandered the streets
Encapsulated in a cell
Roams freely with boundaries

Like
A lost soul
A convicted prisoner
A fearless protector of the home

Needing
Only a family to love and love him back

© 2011 Shannon Hart

Shannon's Creative Work: Dogs &emdash;

Laughing at Yourself is the Best Medicine

The old saying about laughter is the best medicine is true, but I think it’s truer when we can laugh at ourselves. I probably laugh at myself a couple times a week, at least…

Shannon's Creative Work: Models &emdash;

Like the time I sat on the phone with the cable company for an hour because the internet wasn’t working. They told me to call the company that makes the router. So here I was for another hour – frustrated, pissed off, and ready to give up.  Thankfully, the guy on the phone thought of this issue as a possibility – I had turned off the antennae on the laptop.

Another day I was cleaning the bathtub – the water was turned up all the way, I pulled up the lever for the shower so that I could rinse the other end of the tub. The lever had become unscrewed and sprayed water all over my face. I was the only witness, and at first I almost got mad. But then I thought about how funny it would have been to someone else, especially if they’d had it on video. Then I  laughed at myself.

And then there’s the icky stuff. I’ve had cats longer than I’ve had children – and I let them sleep with me (the cats). Several years ago I was eating in bed and thought I’d dropped a sesame seed. I ate it without thinking twice. I later realized that it wasn’t a sesame seed – because the sandwich I was eating did not have them. What was it then? I discovered later that it had been a dried up worm that resembled a sesame seed – the type that cats get!

Speaking of cats – this was a different cat from the one mentioned above – a friend was visiting me from out of town. I had just moved into a new place and he was helping me move the heavy furniture and boxes accordingly. We went out to celebrate the evening and got in late. He slept on the couch and I on the makeshift bed, and the next morning he awoke before me. I woke up to his laughter without any idea what it was about. He told me to turn around. My cat had crapped all over the bed next to me and around me – in neat little piles like connect-the-dots. I didn’t think it was funny then, but now I laugh about it when he tells the story to our friends.

A few summers ago I was at the beach with my daughter, my dog and his dog friend. My daughter and I were looking down at something in the sand. All I remember next was flying in the air and within about a half of a second I was flat on my back, hearing a snap. The dogs had been running at full speed and ran into my legs, flipping me up and onto the wet sand. I lay there for a few moments, the wind knocked out of me and certain that my back was broken. The dog friend licked me in the face, as if to apologize. My daughter asked me if I was alright, even though she was laughing. I really thought I had a broken back, but after a few moments later I managed to get up. The only thing that was broken was my pride – there were two fishermen nearby that witnessed the whole thing. I know how funny it must have been to see it. Although still in a bit of pain, I managed to laugh at myself – especially once I realized no one had put it on Youtube… or had they?

I hope my goofy stories gave you a chuckle today. 🙂

Six-Word Memoirs – Flash/Mini Fiction Stories

Six-word memoirs. What a great way to express oneself in few words. Here were a few of mine:

The story of my life:
Found my voice after waking up.

On happiness:
Know yourself better than anyone else.

On love and heartbreak:
Glad I grabbed you that day.

On pain and hope:
Things are ever-changing. I’m not immune.

On digital life:
Stop plagiarizing my words, you thief.

On green life:
It’s amazing what manure can do.

On America:
Still waiting to travel the country.

On food:
I share sushi with no one.

On moms:
I’m starting to see the resemblance.

Shannon's Creative Work: Aloha Indigo &emdash;

Drowning

Today I am drowning –

current strong,
waves tall,

Tossed around
below –
sand hard and rough
beneath my chin

I see the clouds
laughing at me

Coldness

– Shannon Hart
Copyright © 2013

Shannon's Creative Work: Water &emdash;

3 Sisters – Poetry

3 Sisters

The moon,
The sea,
My cycle –
They’re all the
same to me
They come and go
like windstorms
and incite lunacy

The moon hovers its shadow
Over the sea’s changing tides
Its faces switch
from night to day,
revealing both its sides

The sea’s shifting body
goes in and out by day
Its rolling, stirring comber
takes the grit away

The cycle is my sister –
Each is relative, you see
Acting upon a schedule
of her own mystery

Shannon Hart
Copyright © 2010

Shannon's Creative Work: Our Beautiful World &emdash;

William Carlos Williams’ “Young Woman at a Window”

I love learning new things. Last year I took a free course on Coursera – Modern Poetry with Al Filreis from the University of Pennsylvania. One of ModPo’s assignments required us to compare Williams’ two poems, but the assignment required us to say why the second one was more imagist than the other. Once again, I did things my own way and disagreed that the second poem is more imagist than the first. I guess I see things differently.

The second version of William Carlos Williams’ “Young Woman at a Window” does not follow the imagist manifesto more clearly than the first, because both poems leave a large window of interpretation. In both versions, the images are questionable and often unclear. Although they are very similar, both tell a completely different story by the way they are written in stanza. Williams’ first version (v1) of the poem tells us a story of a woman being robbed by a child. In the second version (v2), Williams tells us about a woman on the verge of a breakdown.

wcw-young-woman-version-1

In the first line of v1, “While she sits / there”, the image is unclear. The word “while” is indefinite, as we do not know what period of time this could mean. She is sitting where? “There” does not indicate where she sits, so it does not mean the criteria of imagist poetry. In the second part of v1, “with tears on / her cheek,” the stanza seems to be clear that the tears are on her cheek without any alternative meaning or image. Williams uses the lines “her cheek on her hand” in both versions of the poem, but he separates them in stanzas. We know here that her cheek rests on her hand: “her cheek on / her hand” because it is in one stanza.

Williams’ choice of words in the fourth and fifth stanzas of v1: “this little child / who robs her // knows nothing of / his theft” could be construed as being either literally or figuratively robbed. Since imagists are supposed to be clear-cut in their poetry, I must conclude that this image is blurred from the poet’s intention.

At the end of v1, Williams concludes: “but rubs his / nose”. If in fact the child robbed the woman, he could very well thumb his nose at her. If he is figuratively robbing her, he is probably tired and crying, which causes him to rub his nose.

In v2 the poem begins: “She sits with / tears on” in the first stanza. This completely changes the meaning from the way it was written in v1 if each stanza represents a separate idea or image. The word “on” could be interpreted that the woman’s tears are turned on like a faucet.

wcw-young-woman-version-2

Because v2 has been broken up into separate stanzas: “her cheek/her cheek on // her hand, the child,” it paints a different picture than the first version. Here, her cheek is emphasized, which makes the reader wonder if this particular cheek is part of her face or her buttocks. We can imagine both scenarios – her cheek on her hand could mean resting her hand on her face or sitting on her hand. Even though we may assume in v2 her cheek may be on her hand, the separate stanzas are a new idea. Then Williams throws us with: “her hand / the child.” Is the child acting up and she uses her hand to discipline him? First we had her cheek on her hand, now it seems to be on the child. Who can blame this woman, because she is clearly stressed!

However, in v2, Williams eliminates the “child who robs her” stanza altogether. Instead, he writes: “in her lap // his nose.” Here I imagine the child’s nose in the woman’s lap, the way young children bury their heads, especially after they’ve been disciplined by the hand.

Finally, v2 ends with “pressed / to the glass,” and I believe that Williams is using figurative language here. When glass is pressed hard enough, it breaks. Perhaps other readers will assume the child’s nose is pressed to the glass, but because the stanzas are separate, I imagine differently.

Although the second version of the poem is considered “more imagist,” I have to disagree. Neither are “hard and clear” as defined by the imagist manifesto, in my opinion. Just because someone claims one to be “more” than the other doesn’t make it so.

Creating Your Own Destiny Requires Responsibility

We are in charge of our own destinies. Everyone has a different circumstance to deal with, but in the end we all have to work with and accept these things in order to move forward.

Sometimes adults act like children – not in the goofy way, but those who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and choose to rely on others, whether it be financially or other reasons. They make excuses about what they “can’t” do instead of trying. They blame others for all of life’s difficulties without ever once admitting that every choice we make has a consequence, and we are responsible for our own destinies.

Sometimes it’s difficult to admit when we’re wrong because it’s easier to say, “But you…” instead of saying, “Oh shit, I screwed up.” Being an adult means taking responsibility for your own actions, admitting when you are wrong, and working on the issue to resolve it. Being an adult means sucking it up and dealing with the consequences of our own actions. We all have the power within us to do fix our lives, and blaming others will never fix anything.

Many of us were born into situations in which we have felt we cannot separate from. However, if you keep telling yourself that you are “stuck” in a situation, then that’s exactly what destiny will create for yourself. Our minds are very powerful, and we all have the ability create our own destinies. If we choose to allow others to barge into our lives and make it a mess, then that is our own fault. If we choose to allow others to walk all over us, to treat us like second-class citizens, then we deserve what we are allowing to happen to us. We have choices, and we can say no. We have the right to stand up for ourselves and demand respect, fight back, and tell them all to go to hell if we so please.

Of course there are times when, no matter what we do, some parasite will latch onto us – whether it be a physical being or a thought pattern. Times like these will test our faith and our integrity. As long as we remain true to ourselves and stand up for what we believe in, and what we believe is right for our own path, then these parasitic moments will be a mere stepping stone to the next level of our destination.

Shannon's Creative Work: Aloha Indigo &emdash;