Breathe, little lady, breathe
And absorb the essence of your surroundings,
From mountain tops to lush valleys
Commune with the harmony.
You are in a place of repose.
Extend your limbs on a cloud of comfort,
Knowing you are consoled within and without.
Deflect the past, Reflect the dreams
Imagine you are at the pinnacle of mental ectasy
Where nothingness becomes your reality.
This journey has purpose.
You submit to it gracefully
It opens your eyes to the destiny
which sings inside you.
Make the world your canvas, my love
Paint your passions
Author your hopes and dreams
Serenade those close, family and friends, with your incomparable songs of sagacity
You are truly an artist in so many ways
As you pen in spilling your heart
And give of yourself, you receive so appreciatively
The touch of your colors, many hues shining bright
Impart a unique charm and delight
And as you share, you absorb the virtue you help to create
Only to render further magic only you can deliver
Those fortunate to traverse your way, my artist friend,
Will be graced with a rainbow of love and life.
Be an artist. Stay an artist.
Continue to sprinkle torrents of tints for which we are all blessed.
“ Without music, life would be a mistake” – Fredrich Nietzsche
This is a story about traversing ‘time with tempo’ – embodied in a historical music novella through the “Seventies”, i.e., the 1770s, 1870s, 1970s, and 2070s – blending musical genres, instrumentation, and immersive visuals. We follow Siena, a young songstress, as she learns about herself and her emotions, through an ethereal romance, with Alfredo.
It’s winter in 1924 and Siena is an aspiring singer, seeking to find a break in her career. A mere 18 years old, her grandparents, quite devout, raised her while learning her craft through years of church choir. In fact, most of her teenage years have been spent in and around the church, limiting her social interactions and concentrating on charity outreach and choir. Naïve and innocent, and in many ways sheltered by her grandparents, she has never had a romantic interest, but can feel herself now becoming a young woman, with feelings, emotions, and desires.
Her talents have been somewhat recognized, in that she was asked to perform with a new church vocal group some hundreds of miles away, requiring her to take an overnight train. She boards the train, nestles into her seat, and begins to play and replay in her mind the musical selections she will be performing over the next few days. She relaxes and gently falls asleep and begins to dream.
Her dream whisks her back in time, to the 1770s, and finds her placed in a beautiful Italian palazzo, just outside of Firenze. She admires the beauty and even opulence of the setting, and saunters down a long hallway. In a special moment of time, she hears a beautiful waft of music, which motivates her to follow it. The sound and mix becomes more mesmerizing as she approaches it. She comes upon a large double door, closed, at the end of the hallway. On it, a sign marks a name – Alfredo. The sound abounds and she wants to find out who is delivering such wonderfully eclectic music. Siena gently pushes one of the doors open, peering in around the edge, only to find the most handsome pianist, Alfredo, performing on the keys. The door creaked as it opened, disturbing Alfredo’s concentration, and he looks to the doorway, to find Siena in full surprise. Their eyes lock and they both stop a breath. While staring for a just few seconds, it seemed like an eternity for Siena, as she felt her heart race, music and Alfredo filling her mind and soul. The door creaks once again as Siena’s leaning on the door moves it slightly and disturbs the concentration of both Siena and Alfredo. He spurts out “Vada prego” (It: Please leave), and Siena backs quickly away from the door and runs back down the hallway at break neck speed. She stops enervated, drops to the floor sitting with her face in her hands, closes her eyes and reflects. In one respect, she’s embarrassed to have disturbed Alfredo, but in the other respect Alfredo and his music seemed to place an intriguing and emotional spell on her. She’s a bit smitten.
She catches her breath, raises her head from her hands and notices she is in a different place. Siena finds herself sitting at a table in a saloon in the gold rush territory of California in 1874. The saloon is hopping with crazed miners, saloon girls, and miscellaneous others. Supporting the energy flow, there’s a piano player in the corner, accompanied by a fiddler. Siena tries to shake her head clear as to where she is, and she hears a melodic riff from the piano, sounding eerily like the piece that she heard moments ago in the Italian palazzo. She gazes over to the piano, and her breath stops. It appears to be Alfredo, the pianist from earlier, now attired a century later. She gets up from the table and makes her way to the piano. Slowly but deliberately she focuses on that face, which had been etched in her mind. As she approaches, he turns towards her and welcomes her into the saloon. He is obviously captivated by her beauty, but continues to play the keys. The music drifts into the ethereal, as Siena traverses between the new found conversation with Alfredo and the music he produces. The conversation becomes more engaging, and both Siena and Alfredo seem to be falling for each other. He pulls one hand from the keys and places it on top of hers. She melts and dreams, listening to him play with one hand while touching her with his other. An electrical connection between Alfredo, Siena and the piano.
A shot rings out outside the saloon, and Alfredo jumps up and leaves his bench to runs to the site of the commotion. He leaves Siena’s side abruptly, but as he exits the saloon, he looks back and smiles. She believes she has found her love in life. As the saloon is emptied, Siena stands alone, and it’s time for her to walk outside. She pushes on the springing doors, and she finds herself in the midst of rock concert, vintage 1975.
She seems to be able to drift above the masses at the show, floating wistfully capturing views of the audience and in front of her, an incredible stage. The music while deafening seems to have that familiar riff. Siena’s eyes begin to wander the stage, identifying many pieces and players, only to have her eyes fall upon the keyboard player. Long hair, in tune with his band, the keyboardist looks ominously familiar. It’s Alfredo. She continues to float as if a cloud, but seemingly invisible to all. But for some reason, Alfredo’s eyes, softly chasing her, are following her movement and the song that he is performing has lyrics almost designed for the moment. Talking about days of old, magical castles (or villas), the old West, and thread thru the song are a magical love he had, but could never consummate. Always just outside his reach, never to be touched. His song reflects his passion and dream and how it would have been the most perfect love, though he knows it’s a mere dream. Siena listens attentively and with the other music, she begins to feel his emotion, but it is only manifest in his music. She draws nearer to him, but as tangible as a cloud, she cannot touch him. She is in love, but understands such love will be limited to the ethereal. With music in her heart, and visions of Alfredo, she floats off into the sky. (Great gig in the sky)
Amidst the clouds, she begins to reflect within the overall dream. She sees Alfredo in many periods, filled with song and lyrics, which replay in her heart and mind. She starts to trip out and moving through colors in her mind. Siena is traveling the world, above it. She closes her eyes and sees a little African child singing a piece, which includes the common riff that she had heard times before through Alfredo’s voice and piano. She becomes overwhelmed, and tired. She closes her eyes and drifts into a deep sleep.
Moments later, she is awaken on the train, by the sound of a violin, being played rows ahead of her. The song is the same one she has heard throughout her trance. She walks forward to the row where the sound is. There is a vinyl being spun on a Victrola. No one is sitting next to it. But resting alongside, there is a letter addressed to Siena. A bit confused, and sleepy eyed, she sits next to the player, and opens the letter. It is a nice welcome letter from the church she is going to perform at. It is signed by director of the choir, its organist, whose name is Alfredo.
A Late Passeggiata
The light of night, the soul of the stroll
A late passeggiata , the shoal of console
The preach on the beach, the hand in the sand
The shells were pastel, my heart did expand
The elation of constellations, the care in the air
The time was sublime, the fare did we dare
A moment was spent, the touch was just such
A kiss that was missed, a nudge that was judged
Left a smile for a mile, a warmth in the heart
A thanks that is frank, a wish to impart
Dear angel may you dwell in the prime of your time
Remember the ember of a soulmate in crime
Oh how I shall remember
That bright autumn day
The sun was radiating a brilliance
Upon the little school café
Before me a woman
Pristine and pure
She like no other
An amazing allure
The banter began light
Yet spiritual in tone
It cast me away
Into reflections unknown
Earth angel she said
A messenger from the Lord
My daze became hazed
She just struck a chord
Myself confused and befuddled
I listened with intent
The words from her lips
Led me to assent
She offered her guidance
A wish and a prayer
To a soul that’s been lost
And a life so impaired
The kindness she bestowed
The magic she unleashed
The belief she empowered
A new soul thus released
I thank thee dear angel
For softening the torment
How I shall remember forever
That brief autumn moment
On a lonely tree the leaves are gone but there you begin
Silently, slowly you start to open
Come cocoon show your colors
Transform before my eyes into a blinding sight
How do you do what you do?
Change the weather
Change the measure
Change my atmosphere
You are my butterfly
And oh so dear
Do your butterfly effect
Circle me in fantasy
Are you quantum
Lorenz said you touched the tip
Your wings kiss my lip
You are so intricate, so intimate
You make that butterfly effect.
Your wings change the night
Don’t distill all the light
You have that butterfly effect.
Your movement in the sun…..oh youre the one
You blossom into color
let the show begin
you create the graces and the sins
You cause change in the world
With a flap of your wings
You do the butterfly effect
Change the world oh
I’d love to change the girl
Her butterfly effect
Be my butterfly
You are the butterfly
Do you dare to change our world?
Change the weather
Change the measure
Change the atmosphere
Be my butterfly
And effect me dear
Butterfly just fly fly fly
Slamina – Continued
It’s that time of the day for the buffet do they say,
When supper is the upper meal of the day.
The settings are set, less than twenty chairs all aligned,
Some low seats, some high, I hope you find mine.
There are candles with handles strewn smack on the table,
With dishes and wishes, and too many labels.
On one end of this feast, the chef of Slamina,
Tempts fate with a cheese plate, pass the fontina
The cheddar is better for writing a letter,
And the Swiss you may miss, if it wasn’t so redder.
A fruit bowl comes next, with pink plums for your tum,
if you’re a fan ‘a banana, make sure to have one
With apples of blue and grapes of bright orange,
The melon they’re sellin’ the color of corn-ge.
If you’re crazin for raisins you must be amazin,
You could and you should be runnin not grazin.
Fruits and some berries, eat one and eat more,
The treats and the sweets, they’re munchin galore.
Muffins by puffins or Niffups if you will,
Are a delectable respectable insatiable bill
Then there’s Flow and Retto, a quite silly pair,
With their noses and toeses, in a pudding of pear.
Can they muster this custard, like a herd that just stirred
Or do they mellow with jello, with milk or some curd?
A green chocolate cake has Yekrut’s neck all a bobble
His neckin’s a peckin about to just gobble.
Ollafub and Llub are parked across the table,
With rings in their snouts, connected with a cable
This causes a stir to be sure,
As the line shifts the plates
So gip-let did snip it,
And then opened the gates.
More greeters became eaters, filling their bellies with jelly,
One’s done with this fun, may we go watch the telly?
After fruit burgers with sugar, and a veggie filled crepe
All this eatin and meetin, I am ready to slep.
But the final finale is worth this last wait
One more bite, maybe three, and you’ll walk a strange gait
At last comes Alaska all baked with a tint
With a favor for flavor of blue peppermint.
The chef of Slamina , Natagnaro his name,
Did razzle and dazzle and frazzle for fame
He winks and he drinks then he roasts as he toasts,
“My friends of Slamina, quite good eh? I shant boast
I cook without books, and never quite look
I joss, and not boss, my sous chef, Alaook.
My game is not lame
Aren’t you glad you all came?
If you come again and again,
I certainly won’t blame.
Now have fun in the sun, go on happily
And thank you, merci, and grazie tante”
Tune In and B Sharp
There’s a patter and a clatter
that wafts thru the clouds
We hear more chatter that matters
from the Catina’s
The sounds do abound, as we walk thru the door
Get the heat of the beat, it’s shakin the floor
“Please come and stay if you may, the show’s about to begin”
Welcomes Anaugi, doing the boogie, as he directs us within.
The lights go down low, there’s a hush in the air
The anticipation of syncopation
This will be quite the affair
We hear a hum and the drum and
see plumes of purple sage
And a spotlight so bright direct on center stage
Opening the show, the soft stepping T-na
Begins a dance of romance as a prima ballerina
Yet the crowd begs for her legs
to do the Macarena
So the beat of her feet, magnifique with a squeak,
Starts to step and not schlep
To shake up the Catina
Joining her and dressed for the street,
Dancing hip hop with soda pop,
The Adnaps catch the beat.
On stage left reading a cleft,
there’s Tibbar on guitar, amazingly deft
His style bizarre, while puffing a cigar,
his reverb superb, while waving au revoir
He’s laying down chords, and a spectacular riff
He’s like Clapton, or Page, or Jimi Hendriff
And an amazing site
at corner stage right
There’s Krahs with his fin,
pizzicato on violin
How he plucks with his point,
with no knuckle joint
His pick is his schtick, while flashing a grin
Old guard surlaw is on standup bass
His licks and his picks even wow the Namuh race
Mossoppo on the drums playing with his thumbs
He’s jiving and thriving next to his chum
Noobab who’s nimble while clanging his cymbal,
he’s banging and thranging, His thumb needs a thimble
Rotag and Corc, who’s bit of a dork,
Are both dressed in their leather
Playing scales without fail
no matter the weather
Worc caws with a cause only because,
he would croon with a swoon if he had jaws.
Like Naver who squawks when he talks,
but these Dribs do ad lib,
and rarely do pause
Their voices have choices, hitting high notes and low.
Doing pop maybe rock, like U2 and Bono
The chorus is before us, pitching notes in their prime
The Lerriuqs singing lyrics, running scales every time
A capella on nutella, vocals sweet in melody
Each stanza a bonanza, whether it’s blues or country
The backline has Redips on the keys being squeezed,
A tinkle with a sprinkle
you just freeze on your knees
a clinkle without wrinkle
waiting on his reprise
So the tunes at high noon in this marvelous Catina
Create a cause for applause, in the world of Slamina
There was a place moons ago where to is fro, and up is down
and every square was perfectly round
Stars shone bright all thru the day,
as the moon and sun just loved to play
The sky seemed to twicker and flicker,
with colors of rainbows turning more quicker
Its rivers rushed with waters of warmth
running to waterrises, not falls, not creating a stormth
Flowing onto the mountaintops, in ponds oh so clear,
like drops without stops, really quite queer
We’re about to begin an amazing endeavor,
with the pages and stages, you may stay here forever
So welcome all to the world of Slamina, where to is fro and up is down
and every square is perfectly round.
Take a journey with us with ne’er a map,
you’ll have so much fun you’ll need a brief nap
We trace the paths of those before,
and frolic in bucolic settings of lore
The grasses are blue, the trees gleaming in red
The flowers just tower in beds that just spread
They grew and they grew and blossomed anew
Every day in their way, they make their debut
The mornings are fostered with a blanket of fog
With shades and grades of colors in a bog
Of orange and chartreuse, apple juice on the loose
A setting of getting inspired by Seuss
As the blanket did lift maybe eleven or noon
Slamina came alive and it was only just June
The movement and groovement of what did appear
Amazes our gazes, there is nothing to fear
Meeting the characters
The world of Slamina is very unique;
all shapes and all sizes, some young, some antique.
You may not have drempt them the way they appear,
but I know you’ll enjoy them, it will be quite clear
There is Gip and Gub an unlikely club,
who love to share a meal whatever the grub.
Kay and Kle, the bestest of friends,
strut the roads with the toads, on the straights and the bends
In the air do we stare, watching Barc and Retsbol, using claws
just because they fly better than paws
Perched on a tree, we see Gorf and Eltrut, who isn’t a mutt,
basking in moonbeams as they just strut
(Can you feel the breeze thru the trees but pul—leezze just don’t sneeze)
In the offing a game, yes lame none the same,
there is Supotco and Redips playing Twister in frames
With legs numbering sixteen between them, if they get real knotty, who’s ever to blame
In the distance, Tar and Nettik finishing their daily repast,
soon to play ride me slow, ride me fast, just make the fun last
The Dribs cannot fib, as they float in the pond,
swim sideways and byways, is she really a blonde
Warm water makes magic for their feathery fins.
They glide and they slide, like playing violins
Drazil , the Queen of the green may be mean it seems
but never as she leans in between her own dreams
And the king of the string, Redips now will sing with a ping;
but only when he wears the rings he brings (yea too much bling)
And there’s Raeb the knave, who lives in his cave,
cuz he hates to shave and bathe,
and though he behaves, he craves to be called Dave
Tibbar’s got ears he fears that near his rear,
and so he hears after he appears.
Guess that’s not too clear.
And then Mr.Redicap, whose flute may toot, quite cute with a lute,
but not with a flute cause that’s a hoot,
what a beaut as he wears a boot on his foote when he toots.
And so Regit and Arbez, the two with the stripes,
decide to type when smoking a pipe,
which get them hyped like Michael Stipe
The creatures and features Slamina inhabits,
love to play games, all the same, while learning good habits.
Lessons taught, lessons learned,….
In the world of Slamina, there is a patina,
of rules, be they jewels or just tools lets go ask t-na
There sits Allirog and Surlaw, the guiders of grace,
within Slamina’s patina, a most wonderful place
Here lessons are taught and lessons are learned,
which makes our Slamina patina, a shade we all yearn
Surlaw, with his guff, which is rough yet not tough,
begins preaching his teaching like a cream puff
We have ten not eleven, not nine and not eight,
the catena in Slamina is to make us all great
Begin number one, you should muster your dreams,
believe in yourself, you are what you deem
Number two is to pursue your passions with passion,
whether that is scribing a book or designing a fashion
Three is a key, what you say about me,
should be kind and aligned or lock it with a key
Work hard number four, you are keeping the score,
but play for a moment, you don’t want to bore
Alive with number five, you must honor your folks,
your siblings and tiblings and teachers and blokes (well…)
And now Allirog’s turn for the final five of the ten,
he rises his guises intending to send
Some thoughts to Slamina, a wonderful place where to is fro, and up is down
and every square is perfectly round.
Number six has its tricks, as differences lend,
whether a Kle or a Kay, a Tar or a Tibbar, you all should be friends
Truth be told, the magical seven, no fibs nor jibs sold,
be honest, and modest, respectful not cold.
Otto or eight, no we cannot just wait,
suggest that we share what we have, with our mates.
More fun to be one of many a soul,
to give is to live rather living in a hole
Nine is just fine, everyday you should find
that a gesture of kind is good for your mind.
And ten is the end, simple fact of the day,
appreciate what you have, more fortunate than they.
Touched by an Angel
Life’s paths turn and burn, ever wondering the end game
And then a flash of energy appears yet magically
A spirit who cares, and bares, and shares, and dares
To expose who she is to an acquaintance of short.
But there lies a magic, a connection, maybe a dream.
Her honesty, transparency, willingness to bring you into her world
With the most simplest of tones, engage you to quest for more.
She mesmerizes her audience, whether that be many or few, she mesmerizes.
I become the fortunate one, to engage her, to converse with her, to connect with her,
And yes in some ways to cherish her. She creates a magical moment for me for which I feel not only blessed, but touched. Touched by an angel.
It is fascinating theatre. The Washington discussion on the debt limit as well as the credit rating. I am amazed at the apparent intercession of the two in virtually all the political rhetoric. The sky is falling asserts the folks on the hill. If we don’t raise our credit card limit we will be cast downward by the rating agencies. Be serious, learn a bit of finance. The fact that we increase the credit limit on someone’s credit card, particularly if he his bankrupt, doesn’t improve his financial health. It actually only increases the risk to the creditor, as the bloke can’t pay for what he already spent. So why give him more credit? Would Chase all of a sudden, because someone is clamoring for an additional thousand dollars on his card, grant the increase, because he said he needs it to aid his bankrupt status? Maybe, but not likely, since he is years in arrears already. The rating agencies could care less (or limitedly) on the debt limit. The fact is that the US can’t pay what it owes. That’s the issue. Like Greece, or Italy or others. The diatribe over the last month has been deafening. And clueless. As bankers, we learn to understand the five c’s of credit. Certainly here, cash flow is keen. The basic problem is in the inability to pay what’s due has implications. True the government has the ability to issue more money, or can raise the debt limit or what. Fact is, the financial health of the country is in serious trouble, and the bandaid solutions proferred by both sides of the aisle are both inane and yes, unconscionable.
Use the analogy of a company experiencing financial woes. What are the options? Restructure. Both sides of the aisle seem inept at agreeing to what and how? Go BK and operate under the provisions of the law, allowing time to regroup while creditors wait. Countries don’t have that flexibility. Tap into the IMF and others for liquidity, as the only other way to float the boat is print your way out of it, or as some companies do, sell excess assets and shrink the debt that way.
We have a much bigger problem. It’s not about finances or debt limits or printing more money. It’s about planning. In reviewing a company, we look at projections, what’s expected over the next two or three or five or even ten years. One of the basic questions that I typically pose is to ask management to describe what the company looks like in three or five years. If that is a target everyone agrees with, then everyone sticks to a plan to get there. Attain one billion in sales, make two hundred million in profit, or two hundred thousand, have offices in twenty-two states, whatever the case may be. But establish a view (a goal) of what you should look like years forward to claim success. The core problem we have as a country is that we don’t establish the forward view and if we did, it gets upended. Can anyone in government state and then commit to a financial position of the country, say five years out? Further, can they stick with it? Nadda. But, unfortunately, they are really dealt a short hand….
The basic disconnect is, that as we are in a world of hurt, and that short term solutions will not work, yet we continue to legislate in parallel with election cycles rather than what is in the fundamental best interest of the country. Flipping the congress every two years with different agendas and different constituents cause changes in directions every two years. It is virtually impossible to establish a longer, even five year, plan. Take Obamacare. How long did it take to debate, so it passed and now it’s getting taken off the table? Even before its deployed. I personally wasn’t keen on its elements, but it was intended to address a larger longer-term issue. But no. New guys in the driver’s seat, and kaput. Repeal it, disembowel it, hang it out to dry. Good try but DOA.
Our fundamental problem is that our method of governance is I believe a key detriment to fixing matters. We have core, long term, and potentially fatal problems. If you were a patient in a hospital, and every so often a new doctor would come in and prescribe something different, so you’re taking x times the meds you should be taking to actually become cured, you are actually accelerating your demise, by overdosing on way too much stuff that shouldn’t be mixed and counteracts the stuff previously given which may have been doing something positive. If good health is the target five years out, stick to a single (or at least consistent) regiment for those five years. We as a country cannot though. We play musical chairs with new actors speaking new lines and changing the prescriptions. Doesn’t any one sense that the multiple doctors and multiple prescriptions supplied with the frequency of changes are actually killing the patient? Putting the poor bloke in a coma; stifled. First give him uppers, then downers, maybe an antibiotic, then some vitamins, add a bit of pot, and waalaah, you expect a healthy patient?
We need to take a step back and figure out what we want our country to look like financially five years out, or even ten. Strong GDP, strong currency, debt levels of x, the ability to reinvest to grow to the next level. Our functional two-year horizon with election gibberish appearing literally after one year in office for our illustrious members, fails to lay the discipline for a longer and much needed business plan. Is there a strategic and financial plan for the US that actually can both stay constant and be executed upon for five years and beyond? I think not. Whether it’s too many doctors prescribing too periodically, or to use a more common metaphor, too many cooks in a kitchen with a revolving door, we are only creating a weaker patient and/or lousy food. Put together a financially sound plan that stands not just the test of time but one that is etched in proverbial stone that new electorates can’t make wholesale changes to. We are all working for the same company. Get a plan and stick to it. And that may mean to change the way the doctors treat the patient in how long they can continue prescribing. Maybe we should consider longer terms for our elected officials, to ensure a plan is executed through its term. Maybe a single six-year term for all elected officials. You have your shot, no need to get reelected. Just develop a longer-term plan, stick to it and achieve the end game. Business planning 101. How many companies would survive if you constantly changed the plan? Besides frenetic fatigue, the health suffers. Certainly there would be those political constituents that would get upset during certain periods, but at least those trying to guide and govern would have the opportunity to execute, “stay the course” and deliver. The only execution taking place now is of each other and no movement terms of achieving financial health for the long haul.
The US is in desperate need of a longer-term plan, and one that not only can but WILL be stuck to. Otherwise, the constant changes in prescriptions, multiple diagnoses and surgeries, and even the overdoses of therapy, will only accelerate the mortality of the patient.