Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Corn #2

This is Marcelle singing about her youth: young, svelte, the singer in a 50's stage band, the Al Michael's Band -- Jim, her husband, is on guitar, and the speaker's father is the band leader. Lots of stuff here is lifted directly from the family saga. The woman who inspired, Marcelle, though, was not a singer. I don't know very much about her at all.

ii. Marcelle’s Song

The marquee announced,
gaptoothed, our good gig,
Hampton Beach Ballroom,
Saturday nights.

It was August 1951.
I was glamorous and thin
scatting onstage
in my sleek green sheath
and cadged pearls.

Behind me Jim comped,
glistening in the spot.
His Gibson archtop gleamed
like honey on a tux.
Strings shivered as he vamped.

I was his silk and ivory,
his butter and cream,
his Satin Doll.
He was my spruce, my salt
my Lover Man.

Enthralled by our Black Magic
the world rose in ovation.
It drowned out
the backstage Atlantic’s crash
and secret hiss.

Of what can I sing now
with this black-keyed mouth
but oil’s luster and sorrow,
a dull gut weight,
an undertow, earth’s ?

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