Sunday, 2 June 2013

Another close call

A friend of mine had a birthday the other day.  Facebook notified me with the tiny little birthday cake icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and since the fellow in question is a talented poet (no, seriously, he's good -- he's been published), I quickly dashed off a post:  "Happy birthday...."  No.  That needs a little something extra. "Happy birthday, Poetry Man!"

Wait a minute.  Isn't there a song called Poetry Man? The internet being what it is, I quickly found the song and a nice accompanying video.  I could just attach that to my message. However, something checked me.

I listened to the song, which I only know vaguely:

Now, after the first few lines, I was thinking:  Well, thank goodness I checked before sending this!
After checking for the lyrics online, I was even more grateful:

You make me laugh
Cause your eyes they light the night
They look right through me
You bashful boy
You're hiding something sweet
Please give it to me yeah, to me

Talk to me some more
You don't have to go
You're the poetry man
You make things all rhyme

You are a genie
All I ask for is your smile
Each time I rub the lamp
When I am with you
I have a giggling teen-age crush
Then I'm a sultry vamp

So once again
It's time to say so long
And so recall the cull of life
You're going home now
Home's that place somewhere you go each day
To see your wife 

Well, yikes.  1) Not really an accurate description of this fella, who is a charming Southern-gentleman type who is not bashful; 2) I've never harboured any feelings beyond friendship for this guy, who would be mystified (and probably horrified) if I sent this rather suggestive tune his way; 3) he separated from his wife over a year ago, who happens to be an old school friend.

The moral of this story:  If you've got the internet at your fingertips, take those few extra seconds to check before you send anything.  I still wished a very happy birthday to the poetry man, but left it at that.  The guy's got enough problems.  Maybe he's getting some poems out of them.

I did spend a few more minutes finding out about Phoebe Snow because all I really remembered about her were her distinctive looks and voice.  I didn't know she had a daughter born with brain damage who died a few years before Snow herself did, and that she largely gave up hopes of advancing her career because she insisted on caring for her child herself.  And I didn't know that "Poetry Man" was her biggest hit.  I actually prefer this wistful number:

I wish I was a willow
And I could sway to the music in the wind
And I wish I was a lover
I wouldn't need my costumes and pretend
I wish I was a mountain
I'd pass boldly through the clouds and never end
I wish I was a soft refrain
When the lights were out I'd play
And be your friend
I strut and fret my hour upon the stage
The hour is up
I have to run and hide my rage
I'm lost again
I think I'm really scared
I won't be back at all this time
And have my deepest secrets shared

I'd like to be a willow
A lover, a mountain or a soft refrain
But I'd hate to be a grown-up
And have to try to bear my life in pain

Personally, I think anyone who made the choices that Phoebe Snow made and who could also reference the Marx Brothers and Shakespeare in the same song is the highest definition of "grown-up" there is.  She looked and sounded like one too.

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