Tuesday, September 26

My ode to Winfield

The next Well Fed Head poetry slam is on Thursday. So soon. You could call this poetry on deadline. I was disappointed I hadn't written anything new. I hadn't been inspired like I was for the last slam. That was the one where I quoted Muhammad Ali.
If you even dream of beating me, you need to wake up and apologize.

I'm not as angry with this poem, but hopefully it will be a nice musical trip for the listeners. Interesting thing about slam poems, the judges don't give any points for degree of difficulty.

But so I wanted to do something. Here's a draft and I don't have as much time for revising as I'd like. But hey, we'll see how it goes.

Ode to Winfield


She asked me,
Would you like to come to bluegrass?
Wow! What an invitation.
Who can say no to bluegrass?
Sorry, I can't.
I'm going to Winfield.
I'm going to bluegrass.
Cowley County, Kansas.
Call it a flatland, if that's what you want.
I say flatness
is always an illusion.
Would you like to come to bluegrass?
Come to
banjos and dobros,
bones and guitars,
fiddles and dancing,
the dust and the wind.
Let the mandolin be your friend.
I hear Marley's Ghost coming over Misty River,
Hot strings and Small Potatoes.
It's a Flat Pickin Paradise
and here is the official unoffical stage five.
The Wilders, the Wilders, the Wilders
are having church at
10 am on Stage 3 Sunday morning.
Come to Jesus
come to bluegrass,
come to jazz
come to bebop
come to blues
salsa, gospel, hip-hop, folk, rock,
Come to Jesus
come to the music of your soul.
this is an american idiom
and we are mestizos, mulattos, americanos.
echos of those brought here
and blown here and found here.
the people of the resonator.
Where does our music come from?
The banjo is an African instrument
brought to this country by slaves.
Follow the drinking gourd.
Follow, follow, follow these melodies
back where they come from.
I heard these songs come from the
mountains and hollers of Kentucky and Tennessee.
I heard these songs come from hills and glens
of Ireland and Scotland.
I heard these songs coming up from some place
deep down in my soul.
These songs come from somewhere over the fiddlebow.
Don't tell me what the purists say.
That Australian guy Tommy Emmanuel is drumming on the back of his guitar.
There's not an inch of his instrument he does not play.
And then he picks
Dixie on the lower strings,
Yankee Doodle on the high strings.
He's playing our music.
He's come to America. He's come to Winfield.
He's come to bluegrass. If that's what you want to call it.
I say call it bluegrass, call it jazz, blues, rock, country.
This is my country. This is our music.
Use it to remember where you come from.
It's hot and the wind blows
dust in the air,
music in my ears.
And everywhere I go songs follow.
Winfield, Wichita, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Jerusalem, Little Rock, Chicago, Miami, Kansas City,
here I come.
Winfield, here I come.
I'm coming to bluegrass.
I'm coming home.

3 Comments:

Blogger BL said...

As I sometimes do, I've been feverishly editing this poem.

Small tweaks here and there, basically.

However, I had to take some poetic license and change the last line. I don't know how many people saw the original last line, but as I was reading it, I thought it needed a stronger finish.
Thus the current, "I'm coming home."

Winfield isn't really my home. Or maybe it is in some poetic, mystical sort of way? But originally it ended this way:
"I'm coming to bluegrass.
Why don't you come too?"

That just didn't feel right to me. It also didn't feel like a strong ending. Thus the current last line.

So, what do you think about this poem on a scale of 1-10?

Also, I'm working on another poem semi-inspired by Camp and semi-inspired by work. Look for a draft of that to be posted sometime Wednesday afternoon.

September 27, 2006 1:09 AM  
Blogger Cherie Kail said...

I'd say 8.62! You really hit a nerve that makes my heart reverberate... I love love love music, any kind, think it's the soul, the sole reason we exist....to make music, to live in harmony. I wish I could be there to hear you recite this one.....have to work. I think the only thing that could make it richer would be some knee-slapping comedy, kind of like the slam you did about mathematics and your muse....

September 27, 2006 7:17 AM  
Blogger BL said...

I did not actually realize this poem had knee-slapping comedy until I got on stage and everybody was laughing.

September 27, 2006 8:04 AM  

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