New Poetry, Fiction and More Musical Dialogues


Spinozablue welcomes new poetry by Rose Novick and Vernon Frazier, and fiction by David M. Rubin. We all have regrets, especially when it comes to our closest, deepest relationships, though more than a few of us will insist otherwise. Many of us will insist we’ve never been hurt or done the hurting, and we wouldn’t change a thing. That’s always struck me as a kind of false bravado, or perhaps just bad timing. As in, in that moment when the question hits us, we may honestly believe we have “too few to mention,” but later, at night, especially one of those proverbial cold and windy nights, we’ll regret our answers about regrets. We’ll wish we had come clean, been honest, been open, and so on. Or, we won’t. Because sometimes the self-hype is so strong, so tenacious, we fool ourselves.

Lianne La Havas — “Lost & Found” (2012)

In this paradoxically beautiful journey through the depths of despair, Lianne La Havas sings softly, repeatedly, with enough power to break her own heart, and it’s just this side of too much to take. The right side. The side with the light. The wrong side would be if we lingered too long with her as she lost it and never found it again. Lingering as she fell deeper and deeper into the abyss. Perhaps like a another Svengali to her British angel, all of 22 when the song came out. Her exquisite, multi-layered, deep-ocean performance makes me feel the cruelty she felt, and love that she was strong enough to break free.

Joe Cocker — “With a Little Help From my Friends”

Lianne La Havas likely already knew the importance of true friends well before her first heartbreak. But because this is Joe Cocker doing a Beatles song, and he put such a soulful, searing spin on it, I think we can get past the “been there, done that” part of the story. Not to mention, he was helped by an all-star cast including Jimmy Page, Rosetta Hightower and Madeline Bell. Timeless advice is timeless advice. Beatles plus Joe Cocker makes it one for the ages.

Joni Mitchell — “Both Sides Now”

Joni wraps things up with her second take on her own song from 1969, adding velvet depths of emotion with a thoroughly lived-in voice, plus hard-won wisdom. Some thirty years later, her smokey humility, her loving, questioning reflections on life, almost fill in all the pieces. The title fits from most angles, bringing us a new form of lyrical Cubism. And if this version doesn’t make you all mushy inside, give this next performance a watch, from the Newport Folk Festival of 2022.

Yes, we are what we do. But if we don’t think with care about our deeds, before, during, and afterward, we’re automatons. For the Zenish among us, it’s more than possible to do and be without seeming, and skip over the during part, at least consciously. But most of us aren’t there yet . . .

New Poetry, Fiction and More Musical Dialogues
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