Saturday Song: Cleopatra and the Lumineers

I’ve liked the Lumineers for some time now, and my son Micah got me listening to their brilliant new album, Cleopatra. When music and poetry come this close together, how can I not fall in love? And it’s just a gorgeous thing when a real-life conversation in a taxi can turn into a work of art that moves other souls who listen.

“If we’re lucky, and we listen, the song is gonna tell ya what it wants.” I’ve said this about the way I write poetry. It’s important to listen.

And a bonus, just because I can’t stop listening to them today:

Release Party on June 17th

It’s official, the relaunch of Word Fountain is under way! Friday, June 17th will be the party date at our home base, the Osterhout Free Library on South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The time will be at 7:00 pm. We will have several contributors there at the event to read from the new issue. There will also be some delicious snacks and beverages on hand, so please set it on your calendar app and come join us.

Learn more about Word Fountain, the Literary Magazine of the Osterhout Free Library by clicking on the link and checking out

Source: Release Party on June 17th

Music time

The Monkey has been sharing songs by a new favorite artist. I like her too, and I have good reason to reblog this as a Saturday Song. This week my car was in the garage and the boss had me drive his up to the branch library on Tuesday. This pop song came on the radio, not a station I usually listen to, and I kinda liked it. I found myself singing, and bopping my head a bit: “My momma don’t like you/ and she likes everyone.”
Then this morning I woke up singing, “So if you like the way you look that much then you should go and love yourself. ”
Yeah, that song I started singing Tuesday is Justin Beiber’s new hit. I feel awkward, but hey. Anywho, this first one is Natalie Dawn’s totally different acoustic take on the same tune. Nicely done, and I feel redeemed!

The Monkey Prodigy

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Saturday Songs with Vincent

Oh, yeah, and Frank Turner too

English: Concert Photo of Frank Turner in Berl...

This is not Vince in Belfast. This is Frank in Berlin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although the headline says “with Vincent”, sadly this post is post-Vince. No, wait, that’s not right; he’s still alive and posting on Facebook from the other side of the Pond now. I mean this is a post-Vincent’s-visit-post. Does that clear things up?

I just spent most of the week with one of the loveliest and best human beings to walk the planet. He would scoff at that description, but I insist I am right in my opinion. We “met” online back in the late 90’s when we and a small cast of other fantastic friends ran a little MSN group, later turned website/forum, and now Facebook group called Gay Fatherhood. Since that all started a few of us have kept in contact, and gotten together on a regular, or sometimes irregular basis.

Even now, after our kids are mostly grown, our friendship has been a precious and nourishing bond. So yesterday I took him back to start his return journey home to Northern Ireland, and this morning I found myself sipping English Breakfast Tea and listening to music. I like coffee. I don’t normally drink tea. But I was an English major, so everything becomes symbolic, according to Dorothy on the Golden Girls.

It was so lovely to spend so much one-on-one time with my Irish brother this week, so good for my soul. We hiked, we talked, we wined and dined, and covered soooo much ground, talked lots of poetry and probably too much politics. But this post is just for all the music I didn’t get the chance to share with you.

Turns to Vincent over tea this morning and says . . .


Two of my favorite guys, Vince and Brian

The night before you left, brother, I was playing a couple of songs in the car for you by Frank Turner. And this first one is one you said you rather liked.  The next is the “Mittens” song I told you about. After we came back from dinner with Brian we never got the chance to return to the music, so I thought I’d share a couple more. These are all from Positive Songs for Negative People, an album that genuinely helped me through some recently difficult times.

I’ve tried to include only songs that I thought might speak to your heart, like “The Opening Act of Spring,” and “Glorious You.” Oh! And I couldn’t resist the heading “Live in the Library,” a short interview that starts with the song I sang with a lousy accent and ends with an adorable song about an Armadillo.

He’s handsome and his lyrics are so dang poetic, insightful and often nourishing. If only Frank were gay and looking for “friends,” right?

Next to get the car repaired (again!), and get down to see my brother Keith in Baltimore!

Poetry Month Then and Now

English: Signature of Shel Silverstein.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night Rebecca, George, Magda and a small group of library patrons celebrated National Poetry Month by gathering in the reading room at the Osterhout Free Library for Wilkes-Barre’s first Third Friday Art Walk of the season.  Patrons stopped in, some to watch and listen between checking out the historic photographs and paintings on the wall, and some to spend a little time reading with us. The majority of the poems were from books of children’s poetry. We had everything from A. A. Milne and Shel Silverstein to Robert Lois Stevenson and Sherman Alexi.

Next month we’ll be celebrating the release of the new Word Fountain literary magazine, which has been on hiatus for the last two years. Recently some other new library employees agreed to join me in editing a relaunch. The submission deadline was April 1st, and we had no idea how many submissions we would get. Thanks to Duotrope adding us to their database, and promotion through the library and sites like NEPA Scene and Poets of NEPA, we were overwhelmed by the response! So if you submitted and haven’t heard from us yet, we’re down to making the difficult, last-minute decisions, so you’ll hear from us soon.

line art drawing of catbird.

The Catbird (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before going back to finish up Word Fountain though, I’ll be taking this week off to spend time with one of my best friends in the world, as fellow poet and member of the original triumvirate who led the old website, Vincent Creelan comes to visit from Northern Ireland. We’ll be trekking through the woods, looking for birds and geologic rock formations, drinking wine and reading poems together. So, I know I’ll return back to you refreshed for next week.

And while gathering things like binoculars and field guides today, as I do a bit of house-cleaning in preparation for Vince’s arrival, I thought of a poem about birds that I wish I had shared with the group at the library last night. By this point in my life I could probably recite this poem by memory, but here is a video of me reading the poem in King Street Park, Northumberland as my family was celebrating National Poetry Month about this time four years ago. We don’t always gather in local parks with sidewalk chalk, poetry books and a guitar, but when we do, we certainly get the neighborhood’s attention. Then again, they probably just think, ‘Oh, it’s that weird Bauman family again. They’re always doing stuff like that. Bunch of hippies.’

The Kitty-Cat Bird

The Kitty-Cat Bird, he sat on a Fence.
Said the Wren, your Song isn’t worth 10 cents.
You’re a Fake, you’re a Fraud, you’re a Hor-rid Pretense!
–Said the Wren to the Kitty-Cat Bird.

You’ve too many Tunes, and none of them Good:
I wish you would act like a bird really should,
Or stay by yourself down deep in the wood,
–Said the Wren to the Kitty-Kat Bird.

You Mew like a Cat, you grate like a Jay:
You squeak like a Mouse that’s lost in the Hay,
I wouldn’t be You for even a day,
–Said the Wren to the Kitty-Cat Bird.

The Kitty-Cat Bird, he moped and he cried.
Then a real cat came with a Mouth so Wide,
That the Kitty-Cat Bird just hopped inside;
–Did the Kitty –the Kitty-Cat Bird.

You’d better not laugh; and don’t say “Pooh!”
Until you have thought this Sad Tale through;
Be sure that whatever you are is you
–Or you’ll end like the Kitty-Cat Bird.

Theodore Roethke