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A spiel about ‘Tres’

In December 2019, I gave myself a project to write ten poems in 30 days. I’d write first drafts in the first ten days, second drafts in the second ten days and by the end of the month I’d have a batch of new work. I’m a slow poet, however, and at the end of December I had scraps of ideas half-baked and gerrymandered into ten bad poems. 

I didn’t want to give up, so I kept working into January, then into February. In March I thought, To hell with this pandemic, my December poems are just starting not to suck! Tres, the third Jaded Azurites EP, is not really a pandemic EP, although it creeps in at the edges. “Pinaceae” is sort of about pine trees and sort of about how overwhelmed nurses might feel seeing one Covid patient after another. “Ameristop” is about weird interpersonal connections in times of not touching.

I gave Mike Watt my December-to-pandemic poems and he picked these five for bass compositions. I think they are the most deceptively simple of our songs so far. His phrases have the elegance of perfectly turned lines; sometimes his chord changes feel like storms blowing in. Sometimes I feel like his bass and my words are walking down a street together, side by side but with different gaits. 

Mike’s compositions ask me to be thoughtful with my delivery. He teaches me not to rush. I like how, in Canto XXIII, both bass and voice go completely silent. In that song, a relationship is in big trouble and those silences are full of foreboding. Paradoxically, as bandmates on opposite coasts, never in the same room, I feel we are more comfortable together than ever before. Maybe that’s how these songs relate to the pandemic: they are together, apart. Necessity becomes asset. Solaces are shared. 

  1. no one else is a diamond
  2. canto xxiii
  3. zen real estate broker
  4. ameristop
  5. pinaceae

released December 11, 2020 

karen schoemer – vocal 
mike watt – bass 
all words by karen schoemer 
all songs schoemer/watt 
recorded during 2020 in new york and california 
produced by mike watt 
all photos by karen schoemer

copyright jaded azurites. all rights reserved.

Watch the video for “pinaceae”:

Red pines hang out with red pines 
A family is a gerrymandering 
Words send out spur shoots 
Have drops a seeded cone 
Woody is full of holes like home plate 
With triumphant cleat marks 
Bases: below or above ground? 
Wood doesn’t last, it persists 
Loam is the least popular of the loa- words 
A boisterous growing foisted upon us 
A pine cone, too, is overwhelming 
I can manage one thing at a time 
One branch, one needle, one scaly ridge 
Also, I don’t think of trees as being aware 
In the sense of being able to defend oneself 
When disabled or sedated 
Consider if grouping foils our ability 
To consider individual characteristics 
Become becomes an army of becomings 
One patient dying of Covid is difficult 
To distinguish from another 
Patient dying of Covid 

by karen schoemer 

Watch the video for “no one else is a diamond”:

My eyes collect pennies of light 
Minted on the river far below 
As I cross the suspension bridge 
They are like birds not birds 
I see but all the birds a lifetime 
Of seagulls above oceans and 
Parking lots and town dumps 
Inverted wave points whorling 
Spying folding wings and diving 
Toward me the sun shining the one 
Hard sun and the many many 
Birds in the air as I walk across 
The suspension bridge in the air 
The many birds I can’t see whorling 
Whipping about my ears crying 
Tongues out claws extended red 
Dots on beaks for fledglings 
To peck at and unforgiving eyes 
Clinical judgmental eyes looking 
To prey upon or steal from me 

by karen schoemer 

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