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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.
- no one else is a diamond
- canto xxiii
- zen real estate broker
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”:
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”:
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