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33 posts categorized "Poetry"

04/13/2012

back again... for a minute

I am back and spending some time with my guitar.. as it is raining outside. Southern California really needed rain, apparently. I am not at all sorry it came back with me from Northern California. We drove across the state together, seemingly.

The video for Meant is almost finished, another tour has been scheduled for May, and the iTunes acoustic session release is coming up soon. 

A brand new website is in the works - and we will soon start unveiling the story of Beatrix: which is the story behind the record. It will be premiered online in different formats throughout the rest of this year.

I performed at the El Rey theater last night, together with Michael Valerio on acoustic bass, who is my occasional MD and one of my favorite people and musicians all in one. I had not played at the El Rey Theater for almost a year, so it was a welcome return to home turf, so to speak, and an opportunity to observe my own progress. Yes, there has definitely been progress.

It was also very rewarding to see some of the new fans. There was one boy who was 14. There was a mother with her daughter who was 10. There were some older people, and a whole group of feisty and lovely women in their late 30's.

We drove all day from San Francisco. This tour has been all about driving around in a van - not the most comfortable or luxurious endeavor you can imagine, but strangely satisfying, as well - I get to catch up on all my reading, some language stuff (Chinese, hello??!!) and also meditation.

Furthermore, I think there is something in the movement that appeals to my restless nature and keeps the inner critic calm. After all, we are going somewhere, therefore we are not idle; therefore there is hope for a new development, other routes, something exciting around the corner.

Perhaps that is that, then. I would make a lousy housewife or librarian, most likely, because when I am still in one place for too long, I get anxious. When I get anxious, I am starting to inhabit my own head a bit too much, and that, in turn, makes me more anxious. Maybe I was a sailor in a past life. Or a mercenary. Or maybe a traveling potion maker or juggler, who sang.

Or maybe I am just young:)

However, it is not a coincidence that the story of Beatrix Runs - the story of time-traveling adventure behind the album - is very much a mirror of my own story up until now.

It is a story of struggle, searching for one's identity, adventure and, above all, coming to realize that life is an alchemical process.

01/16/2012

Lyrics for Orion, from 'Beatrix Runs' -out 1/24/12

Your silence is a question

to what I couldn't say

I see it in your tension

I let it slip away.

I know I never told you

I should have done it then

I could have tried to hold you

instead I turned and ran.

 

Did you know that I was dying

did you know that I was waiting for my ride?

the constellation of Orion

so bright that night

Did you know that I was fading

maybe I was hanging on to find

you'd be there to save me

if I ever fell behind

 

I know it doesn't matter

cause I'll be leaving soon

I'll try and send you letters

and postcards from the moon

I'll hear it if you call me

you have to know it's true

It gets a little lonely

I hope you miss me too.

 

But did you know that I was dying

did you know that I was waiting for my ride?

the constellation of Orion

so bright that night

Did you know that I was fading

maybe I was hanging on to find

you'd be there to save me

if I ever fell behind

 

When the shooting stars hit the city lights

I could tell that we would live forever,

you and I,

standing outside, gazing at the sky;

feeling so alive

alive...

 

If you knew that I was dying

if you knew that I was waiting for my ride

still waiting, hoping

for you tonight

I'm getting tired of trying

my destination's  glittering up high

The constellation of Orion

is where I'm going to fly.

So if you ever miss me

just look up -

look up to the sky.

 

Girl-night

01/10/2012

of what material art thou made?

I am not going to lie: I am very, very stressed.

 I am not going to enumerate all the reasons why. Suffice it to be said: it feels like every weak link in my life is being tested to the max. Which brings me to think, sometimes - could I be the weak link?

I did an interview with the Bullet magazine back in New York this past December. The interviewer looked at me and said: 'You are so positive - in your music and in your writing. It is so refreshing. How can you be that way?'. I was speechless for a moment because I never think of myself as a, well positive person. Not in that Californian way we have come to associate with the word. Sure, it has rubbed off on me, in a wishful thinking sort of way.

And on a good day, yes, I can be very positive.

But that is not my default setting. It is not even my acquired setting. It is more of a goal, than reality, at best of times.

As I posted my lyrics for the title track from the upcoming record, someone on Facebook wrote: 'Wow, pretty heavy stuff' - or something to that effect.

But once you'll hear the song, you'll understand. The song itself sounds like one of the happiest songs I have ever written. For sure, I looked over the lyrics again, and realized that without the music to highlight the contrast, the lyrics are, indeed, not on the cheerful side. But this is a song about freedom. And faith.

And therein lies the paradox. Because although I am prone to mood swings and tend to fall quite frequently into the depressive cracks in the pavement of the Street I generally inhabit, I still look up. I am an optimist. I am a short term pessimist and a knee jerk scaredy-cat. But long term, I am an optimist.

This brings me to the point of this blog entry. Perhaps we are all made of different materials. Quite like in the Chinese folk paradigm, where you are assigned, at birth, an element - Water, Fire, Wood or Metal.

I am Wood. And I have to say it fits me quite well, as far as the description goes.

But what I am trying to say is this: perhaps when we suffer - when we are in pain - sometimes needlessly so, but it doesn't lessen the sting - some of us will emerge finer, sharper and stronger. Maybe not so shiny anymore, but certainly more capable to withstand the extreme temperatures, whatever they may be.

Others of us will be broken, dulled and cowed by life. You do know what I am speaking of. Some of us never recover. They walk through life and they speak of their scars at all times, whenever they can - as if speaking of them at length will make them fade. You often hear them say: 'This will never work, because...' They say 'Are you sure you want to try this, because you know... They also say 'You know I love you/believe in you, but...' 

Sometimes we say this to ourselves, too.

So right now - this year - I am guessing I will find out what I am really made of. Will I emerge stronger and better? Or - if am really made of Wood, will I burn away to a crisp?

In which case, I choose it to be a bonfire for all to remember.

Forge


01/06/2012

poems as maps.

Face it, everything always takes a lot longer than you expect.

Especially when it comes to building something. Act of creation may be spontaneous, but even God, according to holy texts, had to take a rest after a few days. While something can be destroyed in a blink of an eye - a life, a forest, a career, a dream - a relationship - it can take aeons to build either one of those.

It also applies to days. You can plan out your day or work, but some tasks will take a lot longer than others - and you can beat your head against the wall all you want, but there is no use.

It is already one week into 2012, and I still feel like NYE was yesterday. Does it progressively get even more so as one gets older? I hope I can find creative ways to slow my perception of time down. It feels like universe is playing a game of poker with me and bluffing, when time goes by this fast. I have to call its bluff or else.

I also feel like I should start writing poetry again. Poetry crystallizes the moment and is a meditative experience. It's not unlike taking a walk inside your emotional world: it is a snapshot of your internal landscape through a lens of words. I think poetry is more useful, over time, than paying a psychotherapist. The wild or wounded creature inside you may take a while to emerge, when faced with a rational, albeit sympathetic stranger. But given an opportunity to express her or himself via a few random words, committed only to paper - or screen (for the smartphone poets out there) the emotional self will take the bait and give you a hint as to your real feelings and the why's of them.

I have practiced this time and time again. Some would argue  it's not poetry, but 'free associative writing' because it doesn't have to rhyme. Ah, but 'Poetry' sounds so much better. Put some words to paper from your heart, and you are a Poet. I like being a Poet a lot better than just plain ol' me who is doing something called 'Free Associative Writing'.

Just make sure these are not poems you post on Facebook or take to your significant other and say, uncertainly: 'Oh, it's this poem I wrote...uh...mmm...want to hear?'

These are poems to be kept hidden and private. They are maps of your internal continent and some of the traced routes may lead to treasure or great peril. Make sure you share them only with someone who already loves and accepts you for what you are, and does not need for you 'to complete' them. Or vice versa - if you are a people pleaser and need to validated, don't go there. 

Keep your poetry to yourself.

 

A cup of tea
not much longer
until you see
the wake of stars
with plumes of light
the moon is pale
open the window
let uncertainty in
and revel in chaos
of being human
(eik, 8-21-09)

Pirate_map

11/10/2011

11/11/11

Your Waltz by elizaveta  

So I have just been writing a looong entry, with photos and recaps of the past month, which has been quite something, and the coming month, and all that jazz.

But I got tired because I have been writing and recording non-stop for the last three days. So I gave up. The post will go up tomorrow.

Tonight is a full moon. And it's 11/11/11. What is your wish?

I wrote a song - just now. And methinks I am off to bed, because I am exhausted. Maybe I need to exhaust myself working, so I don't get anxious or grumpy. It is entirely possible.

The song just happened. I wrote it in 20 minutes. It felt like... breathing. And now I will sleep the sleep of the blessed workaholics of the world under a full moon. Goodnight.

 

Your Waltz

 

I have waited a long time

For someone like you

You are all that I asked for

But I never knew

That like so many gifts

You’re not quite what you seem

You’re a mystery’s child

You’re a beautiful dream

 

Do you know where you’ve come from

And where you are bound

Are you tired and thinking of settling down

Or like so many boys

It’s adventure you crave

An unbroken horizon

A road unpaved

 

  There is something about you

That can’t be described

It’s as if all the colors

Are strangely alive

And the painter’s brush

Is a magical tool

But you cannot be captured

You’re nobody’s fool

 

Do you know where you’re going

I want to come too

I could be your companion

And I would be true

We could sing many songs

We would travel all night

We would sleep in the woods

And  stars would be bright

 

When you get what you wish for

You don’t always know

If you’ll keep it forever

Or learn to let go

For the lesson is clear

But it hurts nonetheless

So you ask for forgiveness

And wish to confess

 

But the damage is done

And I hope for the best

When I kiss you goodnight

As I put you to rest

I have waited a long time

And I’ve been redeemed

By a mystery’s child

By a beautiful dream.

Girl-moon-eyes2-w

Waitingalonelonelyrainroadtravel-c2f707191b625b79d60e892f4b5d0fe2_h

09/27/2011

NYC

I am here...and so tired.

But happy.

And look whose music has been released!?

I think I am in good company.

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I am still under the weather a bit and fighting off a sore throat, which doesn't make singing easy as pie. But it hasn't rained in NYC, and it's sunny, although humid. I just had the best Greek food I have had in ages.

Tonight, one more show - with strings - and then I get to rest a bit. This morning I did an interview and a performance already.

But maybe it's time for a little poem, so I get a little perspective on things. I wrote this a year and a half ago. I am in a very different place now, in so many ways, although still some things ring true, when I read it. But reading it today brings me calm, somehow. Three more months until my birthday, of course - yes, I am a child of December. But it is ok to re-visit. The huge city outside is breathing fumes, crowds and buildings crowd the sky. I am a little anxious, because -well- the music I have made is now officially out there: no more hiding, waiting or theorizing. I am living it.

So I am reading the poem slowly, remembering a frozen December in Hudson, NY, and the quiet, and a church with piano, where I did some recording - and wrote this.

 

December Child

 

Words escape me.
It's only the night 
and the frost in the air.
Morning soon; but for now
We'll paint the air 
with our breath and laughter.
This winter chill 
tastes like cinnamon candy;
it burns my throat
through a borrowed scarf
but the sweetness lingers.
Lights glitter in the trees
and cigarette smoke twirls
like a reminder
of another night long ago
in a foreign city
and a soft-spoken stranger
by my side 
at the witching hour.
I have given all this time
to the land of sunshine
only to find myself craving the cold.
This is an end of a cycle
and a little death
but a new life is in the making.
I am afraid, but fear is for the living
and so is pain of loss;
as long as I am breathing
I will choose to run free,
searching and questing,
wearing my heart on my tattered sleeve,
taking chances.
Because I hope that somewhere
a fireplace has been lit for me
and so I follow the trail of bread crumbs
down a winding, twisty path
towards another's heart
and a new beginning,
half-wishing I was stronger and better;
half-knowing there is no destination.

I am a child of winter
tonight I feel it in my bones
and the crunch of ice under my feet
is an exclamation point to a story
I started writing a long time ago.
I am used to the ache of departures
and I am friends with empty spaces.
And just like then,
I am at the crossroads again.
Except now I am older
and a little kinder.
The page turns
and now it's snowing..

07/01/2011

poem of the day

I woke up at 5 am, but then fell back asleep. I had strange dreams, and the last one was about two girls singing. They were both teenagers, and they were both very good, but had different voices: one was higher and more operatic, while the other had a husky, beautiful timbre. Maybe they were both parts of me? That feels about right. And they were singing together, which somehow tells me that they were getting along. So perhaps I am coming now to a place of my life where I am not fighting myself as hard as I used to. Don't we all, though?

Reading poetry in the morning should be something everyone does. Just one poem. It creates a frequency you can carry with you throughout the day, like a candle that doesn't burn out. Here is the one that caught my eye this morning:

 

There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all. 

These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty. 

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. 

And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism. 

And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; 

They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.

Though the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth. 

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; 

And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving 

And is there aught you would withhold? 

All you have shall some day be given; 

Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'. 

You often say, 'I would give, but only to the deserving.' 

The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. 

They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. 

Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you. 

And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream. 

And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? 

And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed? 

See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. 

For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness. 

And you receivers - and you are all receivers - assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. 

Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; 

For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.        


Kahlil Gibran

Purple Flowers

 

03/20/2011

Rain poetry

It is raining so, so hard today. I love it. Everything is muffled. I drove to get milk this morning. Normally I would ride my bike, but it was raining really hard. The streets were deserted, and the air was so fresh. 

I am reading poetry in bed. There should be more poetry in the world, not iPads or iPods, gadgets, video games, TVs, computers. On an evening like this all that is needed is the sound of the rain and printed words on a page. Why does modern man occupy himself so and need to fill every single square inch of silence and solitude with digital and other content? Are we so afraid to be with ourselves for a minute and sense the world? Are we afraid the world is so separate from us, like some giant clock that keeps running regardless of whether our heartbeat is in the mix?

Perhaps.

To me, poetry is about decoding the world through language, but in a way which lets the gray spaces come forward and claim our attention. Poetry is language, movement (because it's rhythm, too), imagery (because our imagination engine revs up), but unless you sing it or speak it, there is no sound.

This is a poem for tonight:

 

I have been one acquainted with the night. 
I have walked out in rain - and back in rain. 
I have outwalked the furthest city light. 
I have looked down the saddest city lane. 
I have passed by the watchman on his beat 
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet 
When far away an interrupted cry 
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye; 
And further still at an unearthly height, 
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. 
I have been one acquainted with the night.

(robert frost)

3667721364_7a1d2c940c

01/19/2011

wolf moon

If my heart were tethered to the moon

It would hover right above your head

for tonight I feel honest and sad

and I know not why.

 

If we were free to live as we choose

Would we not erase this servitude

to the unseeing multitude of things?

we build them and they shape us in return.

 

All I want is shelter and some time

to spend with you, uninterrupted;

listen to the moon hum: she knows

about the eternal loneliness of the circle.

 

As we wander further apart

 I am wishing for a supernova 

to blaze across the sky. Heavy with desire

to set fire to everything and start again.

(eik 2011)

 

Running-wolf-moon-night

 

12/20/2010

Winter Solstice

It is cold and rather wet outside. Tonight is a full moon - a Blue Moon - and the expression 'once in a blue moon' could certainly be applied to today in the life of this little Flower Alchemist: myself.

It is the last official full day in the studio, as the process of bringing this record into being is coming to a completion. And today I met an amazing composer, arranger and orchestrator, Joel McNeely. It was a very special blue moon meeting, you may say.

Tonight is also a lunar eclipse. It is rather unique because it also falls on a Winter Solstice.

Last two days were pure poetry, and San Francisco was luminous. London has a rival now for my heart, and a young, charming one. Still, Ol' Blighty will always have me because of his underlying darkness and hidden scars. He tugs on the Russianness of me. San Francisco made me feel like a kid.

I bought books and fell in love with the city, as well as an Arabic poet, discovered randomly in a wonderful bookstore called City Lights Bookstore. The poet's name, interestingly, is Adonis. I will surely post some of his writings on here soon, because now I am a proud owner of a volume of his poems, which are translated, of course, but are still achingly beautiful, which is a mighty rare thing.

Speaking of poetry. As this is the Winter Solstice, here is an appropriate poem to share with you on this longest night. It is by another poet I found by accident on the Internet and promptly tracked down on Amazon. He says what I want to say much better than I ever could. Or at least it suffices for tonight, because I am missing words, and so I will borrow his, instead..

 

The Winter of Listening

 

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

 

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,

 

what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

 

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

 

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
forgetting
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

 

All those years
forgetting
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

 

And the slow
difficulty
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
otherness.
Silence and winter
has led me to that
otherness.

 

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

(David Whyte, from The House of Belonging)

 

Winter-solstice-2003-thumb

 

About

My Photo
NYC-born, raised in Russia, spent some time in an Italian monastery, arrived in the U.S. & studied opera. The rest is history.

Album 'Beatrix Runs' out now on iTunes worldwide.

New EP 'Hero' out in the spring 2014.

Contact: elly@elizaveta.net

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