Reaction to Chase Holfelder

In the holiday season we are inundated with scores of Christmas carol covers. While I enjoyed listening to them, and have found some truly beautiful ones, it struck me how many of them are essentially the same.

And then I found a video by a YouTuber I discovered about 5 months ago, Chase Holfelder. Chase, besides having a great voice, brings a unique quality to his covers in that he takes songs originally written in major keys and sings them in minor.

This simple change can have some startling effects. This is nowhere more apparent than in this cover of a pop song. I recommend you listen to it, this Christmas carol cover, and this before reading my poem.

Major to Minor

When girls wanting fun
turns from a nerve-scraping
narcissistic
joy ride
into a heart-clenching
haunted
cry for help

When holiday cheer
takes into account
the acknowledgment
of a hard road ahead
without sullying
the season

When patriotism
and the hope
for a better land
are not opposites
but the cry of the same
mournful voice

A simple change creates
beauty that
brings me back
every time my restless soul
needs a soundtrack

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Reaction to Not Perfect

Yet again, surprise eye surgery has interfered with my posting schedule. But I can see and that’s cool. Tonight I re-listened to a song by Tim Minchin called Not Perfect. Although most of his songs are satire (and hilarious), this one has a more serious and personal tone and always resonates with me. I reconmend you watch it before reading my reaction poem.

The Smallest Matryoshka

No matter how big a picture you choose to see
It’s painted with dots smaller than my ego
Made of cracks I can fall into and somehow survive

If I can spend the vast majority anywhere, it’s here
Because the weirdest thing about my mind
Is that if I can call me fine, I’ll make it past the next line

No matter how cliché the answers are
They’ll always hide more questions
That don’t need a reply in order to belong to everyone

If I can allow that it comes down to me
I’ll see the beautiful dirt that covers my face
When I stop scrubbing long enough to appreciate the mirror

Reaction to Skyscraper

It figures that just about the time I decided to update this blog once a week, I find out that I’m going to need eye surgery today. I may still be able to update next week, but just in case, here’s a poem I’ve been working on a for a while. The desire to write it reared up every time I would listen to John Barrowman’s version of Skyscraper, but I could never get it past a list of random ideas and feelings.

Although I wouldn’t recommend surprise surgery as a writing tool, I guess the news helped my muse find some coherence. Like I’m Made of Paper finally came together this morning. It’s not perfect yet, but at least it’s saying what I want to say. I’d appreciate any comments and constructive criticism. I’d also recommend listening to the song first if you haven’t heard it (any version will do: here’s Demi Lavato’s).

Like I’m Made of Paper

There was a time
the connotation was arrogance,
a head among the clouds,
trying to upstage God.
Terror has rewritten our dictionary.

When did running from the clouds
become cowardice? When did weeping
become weakness? Has anyone ever seen
the sky in tears? When released, does our pain
water the grass, too?

Broken windows tear into callused feet like paper slivers,
even crumpled currency retains mint value.
Someday, someone will understand why small men
feel the need for crisp newspapers.
Powerful words can live on a tattered page.

Tradesmen and clergymen used to yell
“Scrape the sky all you want, you’ll only get
dust under your fingernails.”
But we have turned it into stardust,
and used it in our coffee.