Funky Swag At Mrs. Fish

Echo Park Rising was my first taste of the expressive charm of Soul Scratch when the band performed at The Lost Room to a packed audience. That was two months ago but luckily they were playing again in the basement of downtown’s historic Pershing Square Building in October. Although nights had gotten cooler, the heat of anticipation or beverage consumption gave the pursuit of music a particular buzz.

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After descending the white and black tile stairs to a balcony stretching along the perimeter of Mrs. Fish, I moved toward the seductive seating area and blue hued bar in the upper corner. To the left was the main lower level where Gramps The Vamp opened with brassy-swanky funk rhythms. At some moments, it almost felt like listening to an eerily cartoonish soundtrack. This explained why the railing behind and above the stage was lined with people propped and engaged.

I found a spot between two couples overlooking the band played and noticed people bunching and dispersing at the base of the staircase of the entrance. A monstrous fish tank suspended from the ceiling where new guests arrived and bombarded into the congestion for drinks. The glass bottom gave sight to lively colored creatures and suddenly became an emblem of the fishbowl experience I was having behind the band and discretely shadowed by the cobalt beams of light cast against the wall.

Regrouping with friends became a significant priority but easily accomplished with the temporary height advantage to help with sorting through the crowd. Making sure we got a good space to listen to Soul Scratch was another pain objective but seeing how late it was and they still hadn’t arrived on stage, I figured there was plenty of time for a cigarette. Squeezing a way up the stairs was a little easier than going down and the bouncer swung the door open but the atmosphere was so chill, not a curl of hair was pushed out of place by the greeting of street breeze.

I nearly dropped my lighter in excitement upon seeing Dale, the vocalist of Soul Scratch, standing on the curb already a few steps ahead as he exhaled a cloud of smoke in front of the tightly clad passersby. He was caught off guard but I was enthused to meet him. His expressive use of voice with the band quickly became the focal point of our conversation was cited as coagulation with funky flows of a trumpet, saxophone, drums and guitar. Shortly after a few exchanges, he finished his cigarette, then fled through the door and down the stairs in preparation for his entrance to the stage.img_soul-scratch-2

The yellow and amber tint of downtown’s streetlights spread across the busy pavement and gave way to a attractively distracting scene. However, Soul Scratch was due to perform shortly inside and luckily the bouncer recognized me so there wasn’t much of a wait behind the growing line on Hill Street. By the time I entered and found a seat on the patent red leather couch, the lead vocalist was beckoned onto the stage after a groovy introduction from the band. In the same fashion as the performance at Echo Park Rising, Dale made his introduction with a walk through the audience and swooned everyone through the night with vocal nods to Aretha, Etta and Otis over a funky swag of melodic pleasantries.

 

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of amorous relations

A song was written
about a young woman
and charm of a person
by which she’s smitten.
The rhythm was off
but the theme was evident
of a romantic pursuit
forced to remain secret.
Why in this season
do energies shift
and influence admirers
to reveal an eerie twitch
when trying to determine first
whose number will be uttered
and consequently lend to the
spreading of various ignorances?
Rhyme and reason do not enough
in explaining the dynamics
of amorous affairs.

fool who shouldn’t walk the line

[This is meant to be hummed/sung as an exploration
of the blues through an omniscient narrator.
Think Pink Anderson, J.D. Short, Otis Rush, Sonny Terry]

Through the screen of a window, the sun shines brightly
illuminating leaves small and still dangling
from branches reaching far above the lazy streets.
Suddenly, a sweet female voice shouts with fury
to confront a gentleman whose tone’s so raspy.house on Farmington

Their argument resembles the blues
if two voices could be used
to show how emotions
can lead to such confusion.

Words are unclear until the woman exclaims,
“Boy, you’ve got me sitting idly
only to tell me someone’s waiting on you.
I said why you got me sitting idly
when someone’s already waiting on you?”

The gentleman sways his body weight to the other side,
flings his arms up, then loudly declares,
“Now, now, now don’t go chasing me with your insanity
just cause you couldn’t come to that party,
though I won’t deny seeing you then would have been mighty nice.”

To which the woman responds with an extraordinary howl,
“Don’t you dare try that move,
I hear about what you’ve been up to.
It’d be best to use less trickery
so I don’t keep feeling like such a fool.”

With disbelief, the gentleman replies,
“I wonder why you act so funny
but your words show me you misread
why I have to go run and hide.
I guess you don’t, no, you don’t know much about me.”

The woman can’t help but laugh with a bit of surprise,
“Honey, hasn’t there been enough time spent
reflecting on our likenesses?” Even as he nods his head,
with pity she says, “Don’t talk to me
like I’m a fool who shouldn’t walk the line.”

When the gentleman pauses, his eyes widen
and jaw drops so he can express,
“This only proves what wasn’t meant to be.
Damn, now I see what woes may come
in more forms ’an one by over thinking compatibility.”

Hidden behind her hands, the woman gasps incredulously,
“I can’t believe I wasted time
helping you find comfort in being divine.
Oh, why does this happen
whenever I help minds of a new light?”
house and tree on Cass
All of a sudden a car in the distance
screeches noisily to a halt
but the two continue bickering
as though nothing happened at all.

Before the gentleman opens his mouth,
he points to the smoky scene,
“Maybe that’s a sign you ought to consider
in saving some of that energy.
Yea, you may want to learn how to use that energy.”

This makes the woman cringe and reply abruptly,
“You take and take but stand without
any respect for my universal love.
So silly, oh, so silly to think
you’d be there in my time of need.”

Stomping her heel against the ground
making cement seem quite hollow,
she advised him, “Send me no more temptations
to things you know I like to doing.
Time enjoyed was heaven sent, was it ’cause I’m such fool?”

The woman repeated, “I said the time enjoyed was heaven sent,”
then the two said in unison,
“And I’ve met the self I’ve suppressed for so long.
Maybe you’re the reason why
it’s easy for it to be hidden and found.”

the man in purple

It’s happened again, said the man in purple,
The old habit’s gone and
the damned witch made me love
with a mental load big enough to make one scruple!
He hopped and sulked all in four seconds,
only to discover there was nowhere
a person with a solution for his ailments.
So slowly he walked toward the mountainous curve
even as clouds obscured his vision and only his breath was heard.
At first in a whisper, then accelerating to a shout,
the man in purple exclaimed,
I stare out my window
wondering where you could be.
During this morning hour, amidst dark shadows
your face is still all my mind sees!
Should I call or perhaps forget
any attempt to explore if you feel this stress?
I close my eyes and your face is near mine,
a pleasant sight for this late unrest.
Swiftly he continued up the nebulous route
only stopping momentarily to yell at the clouds,
These words are all I have
to sort through what you mean
within my heart even when it grows weary
every time I see you leave.

many pages and half moons

The first warm breeze of the spring season
tickled a young boy’s ears for no apparent
reason. He watched the branches’ rigid
movements and let his nose be overwhelmed by
the scent of moist soil until upon a horizontal
current slid a screen door. When he turned
around and saw his playmate run from afar, he
felt in the pit of his stomach a desire to learn
what he’d heard once in the schoolyard.

“What is respect,” a young boy asked his
playmate in a sandbox who responded to the
interrogation with a face so coy.

“I read in a book with many a page and half
moons respect is something you feel if an
honorable impression is made.”

Staring at his toy and then at the sand, the young
boy inhaled and said, “The feeling I get when I
sit on a train, seeing trees and clouds whiz by in
the sky, is this an instance respect can be applied?”

The corners of the playmate’s mouth turned
upside down but he stayed calm for he enjoyed
the effect of a verbal merry-go-round. “When
you sit on a train respect could be felt, as long
as you’re not thinking of yourself.”

The young boy’s eyes widened with surprise.
“Not think of myself? Well, you must be joking!
I’m most happy and can twaddle for hours when
I see the world and it speaks to me.”

The playmate laughed heartily and exclaimed to
his friend, “Now you must be the one who’s
joking for the world does not use words to talk
to human beings! We’re on it because it’s only
here to be seen!”

“Take that back,” said the young boy in a fury.
“I’ll have you know the trees and grass have a
bond with the wind and rain as much as you and
I have in this sandy space.”

Shaking his head and peering around, the
playmate stood up and looked quite proud.
“This area is for everyone to use and enjoy,
not to…”

Before he could finish, the young boy inserted,
“Isn’t it everyone’s duty to employ gentle senses
when understanding all forms of nature’s beauty?”

The playmate answered quickly, “How do you
come up with a word like employ when you just
asked me to clarify simple terminology?”

“Words of that sort seem easy to understand
while terms of so common seem abused by the
absence of comprehension regarding the realm
imbued by simplicity.”

The playmate shrugged then looked toward the
heavens. “Maybe the self can be included in
thought when it comes to respect of this
wondrous environment.”

disheveled sanity

Lost, it’s lost
the words I last wrote
about the emotional rope
off of which I now fall,
they’ve vanished and I know not
where I placed the damn notecard.

So silly, so jovial, perhaps even witty
my flight of thought
seems to have taken me.

But, oh, the days I could linger
with sanity in the park
and upon my finger.
Now every moment feels as though
every carb I eat
consume this skin covered meat.

Sit still, I say in the dark
and smelly room, only to find
I am not so shrewd.

Simple instruction, and consumption in moderation,
those beliefs in temperance
seem to only madden
as I determine how best to use
my tools of satisfaction.

But that cannot be a sensation
worth the trouble of a roller coaster through emotions,
conversations with inner monsters,
and the passively strong forces
of an insignificant nature.

so close to multiple zeez

Row, row, row your boat
gently as you scream,
the day will come
no longer young
and you’re forced
to steal and cheat.
The masses are sleeping,
who’s been dreaming?
Humans in control,
a few responsible,
of denying the public
comprehension of the origins
of Gal and Bern.
Such crafty humans
whose actions are riddled
by momentous mistakes.
Who is the fairest?
Neither you nor I,
for we must believe
that things will change
with the help of those who conceive
plans that address marginally grand needs.
But they too are fooled by structural deception,
still the machine cannot change its course,
too many games with people’s familiars
to let stand lonesome and afar.
They sleep, sleep, sleep away pain
because there’re so many times one recuperates
as the world vacuums all independence
and distraction with heavy hands.
Onward you must push beyond
expectations held within.

a silhouette ponders love

The smell of nicotine
clouds a room in which
the silhouette of
a masculine body
with feminine features
sits near a window.

Love, how you evade me,
make a mockery of my emotions,
declare me mad when I’ve made efforts
to communicate on levels of unusual custom,
falsify any notion of affection!
Why do I entertain thoughts,
mere fruitless ambitions,
which evoke no promotion
of strong feelings within
the subject of my admiration?
Is this game of emotions,
battle of wits, what have you,
similar to the flight of a young bird
soaring through the air without experiencing
the altitude it strives to achieve?

The silhouette falls silent as
raindrops splatter diagonally
across horizontal walls of glass.

Oh, stop the indecent conversation.
Prepare yourself for instant gratification.

I thought you were to be found
after hard work and dedication?

Only the blind can find
me in such consecration.

Then I beg speak to me plain!
What must I do to forgo lover’s scorn,
admit passion in another, all to
satisfy desires deep within?

Impede such interrogation
for it is not healthy
contemplating that in which
you have not participated.

You ridicule my ineptitude
for this sort of relation?

Dare you question my advice
disseminate from malice?

The silhouette pauses,
taking note of faster raindrops.

I rescind my former inquiry
for I meant no misjudgment.
Please spare me though still,
will I ever move forward
from this frenzied isolation?

Your forward motion is
dependent upon your actions.

And what of these sentiments for,
I must admit, I waste minutes
and hours entertaining the
cruel nature of idle
introspective fervor?

The estimation of your
heart’s movement toward love
and devotion is not a prediction
I am at will to recite.

Then oblige me with
a statement forthright,
will I ever know what’s right?

And with the last word,
a gust of wind whistles
through a cracked window,
forcing the silhouette to
shiver through the night.