Susana H. Case
September 4, 2014
For many years, Joni Mitchell was the lumpy wool sweater of the music business. You dipped into that hearty bowl of nuts, dried fruit, and Joni Mitchell the same way you might slip on a third layer of clothing on a cold morning. Joni Mitchell signified back-to-the-earth; her name a synonym for organic granola. Decidedly not chic, Joni Mitchell could be many things, from a jazz collaborator to a parfait topping. But take a closer look at Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters, a tribute in which Joni Mitchell makes a small appearance in the re-recording of “The Tea Leaf Prophecy (Lay Down Your Arms).” Granola has traded in the scratchy sweater for a little black dress. All over the country, Joni Mitchell would have been a booming sector, an elegant and wide-open canvas for experimentation, if she hadn’t lost the high notes, if she didn’t suffer from possibly delusional Morgellons, festering flesh. Joni Mitchell, Roberta Joan Anderson in variations that are whimsical and sometimes like itchy fibers sticking out of the skin.
*A partially found poem, the words “Joni Mitchell” replacing various nouns in the strung-together text fragments.
Patsy Retrospective Album
A collage of quotations from: “Walkin’ After Midnight,” 1957; “Crazy,” 1961; “I Fall to Pieces,” 1961; “So Wrong,” 1962; “She’s Got You,” 1962; “Faded Love,” 1963; “Always,” 1963, all by Patsy Cline.
It was in the springtime that
you said goodbye, and made
me cry, not just for a day, and
not just for a year.
With every heartbeat, with
every backbeat, with every two-
beat, you made me weep with
the realization that you’d love me
only as long as you wanted.
How could I be just your friend
when you walk by and I
fall to pieces? I’ve been so wrong
for so long; time only adds
more steel guitar and banjo,
time only adds to the flame. Crazy
for thinking that my love
could hold you. Now,
unless I decide to stalk you,
I’m left with just my songs.
After midnight, night winds
whisper to me, hillbilly themes
of lost love and pity: I’ve got
your memory, or has it got me?
Susana H. Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology. Author of several chapbooks, her Slapering Hol Press chapbook, The Scottish Café, was published in a dual-language version, Kawiarnia Szkocka, by Poland’s Opole University Press. She is the author of four full-length collections, including Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips (Anaphora Literary Press), and, most recently, 4 Rms w Vu(Mayapple Press).
What motivates her to create:
“Freud said creativity was how we rearranged the things of our world in a new way and that’s what I do.”