going on a bit more about john cale


The other day I posted a video of John Cale performing Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night set to music. Then today I read The Ambassador of China, a poem by k.a. brace. That got me thinking again of John Cale, and his haunting song The Chinese Envoy. I am always surprised at how many people have never heard of Cale, or are vague about him. He is one of the most influential figures in popular music of the late 20th century. He came onto the scene as a member of The Velvet Underground, a band that I must confess held little sway for me. I listened to Cale’s solo work a bit while in college, but never got into it deeply. I rediscovered him some 40 years later and continue to be amazed at the depth of his talent as a musician and writer. It was during a period of personal crisis that I got interested in Cale’s work, and I found much to relate to in his personal story. Many people tell me they find my work very dark, and I suppose it is no coincidence that I love the darkness of Cale’s lyrics. He is now in his 70s and lives in Los Angeles, and is still working, still making music.


A Little Bit about Frank O’Hara

Love this poem. Made my day.

A Rhythm Runs Through It

I was reading an article today on The Poetry Foundation’s website about the 50th Anniversary of Frank O’Hara’s “Lunch Poems” and wanted to share it with all my fellow Bloginistas along with a poem of his of which I am rather fond. I have always loved Mr. O’Hara’s work, and after reading the article and the following poem, I hope you’ll see why.

Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been…

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old guys’ sunday


The old guys come, chairs fill up with them
waiting for something to happen,
admiring each other’s cars and bikes,
shaking their heads at the occasional trike

In long white hair and earrings they sit
among their children who argue
on smartphones about stupid shit,
told with the rolling of eyes

The guys share stories about nothing in particular,
leaning in to hear them over the rumble,
a laugh and a latte and then it’s over,
they move out, great rolling thunder,
surprised by their own speed

comfort of home

A phantasy is playing
too quiet to hear
until I use my heart
to really listen
Spirits lifted by pure sound
I arrive just in time
to turn around and go again
until I can’t tell where

Is this home?
It looks familiar through the tears,
but I cannot stay long –
it is time to run back
to the song that is my real home,
where I can rest unafraid
to greet the sadness
awaiting with sweet comfort
upon my return




©Daniel von der Embse

bill birdshit’s lament

My old friend Bill was the greatest disco dancer, until ALS crippled him. R.I.P.

Where did you go, Billy Birdshit,
what became of the feather vest
you wore as mayor of Puerto Vallarta?
Once you were the disco king,
before that cruel bitch fate
took away your dance legs,
your platform heels
forever empty in our hearts,
the practiced falsetto
calling us for one last goodbye
before you ride off with the angels
on a towering arc of fart gas flames
into the quivering sky