by Rowan Ricardo Phillips
I won’t ever tell you how it ended.
But it ended. I was told not to act
Like it was some big dramatic moment.
She swiveled on her heels like she twirled just
The other day on a bar stool, the joy
Gone out of it now. Then she walked away.
I called out to her once. She slightly turned.
But she didn’t stop. I called out again.
And that was when, well, that’s just when
You know: You will always be what you were
On that small street at that small time, right when
She left and Pluto sudsed your throat and said,
Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche
Tú la quisiste, y a veces ella también te quiso.
For someone who is interested in words and language, I am ashamed to admit I am a complete failure in learning other languages. Most of the rest of my family has decent conversational Spanish skills, something that I think all Americans should have, given the importance of our neighbors to the south. If you are like me, then this might be helpful. A loose translation of the last two lines of the poem above is:
“I can write the saddest verses tonight, You loved her, and sometimes she loved you too.”
The Super Bowl half time on Sunday was incredible. I was pleased so many of the songs were sung in Spanish, quite a contrast to the political ads from President Trump and his constant attack on immigrants. Shakira and J. Lo put on a great performance and regardless of your opinion on booty shaking, there was no mistaking their power as performers and their impact on the pop culture of the United States. The NFL never does anything by chance. It was clear they were courting a wider audience and realizing that it didn’t matter what the bible belt felt about the costumes or the dancing, no one was going to turn it off and a whole new demographic might just tune in. I loved the dancing brass back-ups for J. Lo. Phillips poem below is a fitting commentary to the entire spectacle, that try and simplify it, or put it in a “category” and you are going to miss the complexity of what is really going on. What the half time show said to me, is it’s more than one thing. It was about life, about music, about celebration. It spoke to me, we are much more interesting in living life as a global multi-cultural experience than in courting isolationism and building walls.
by Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Both guitars run trebly. One noodles
Over a groove. The other slushes chords.
Then they switch. It’s quite an earnest affair.
They close my eyes. I close their eyes. A horn
Blares its inner air to brass. A girl shakes
Her ass. Some dude does the same. The music’s
Gone moot. Who doesn’t love it when the bass
Doesn’t hide? When you can feel the trumpet peel
Old oil and spit from deep down the empty
Pit of a note or none or few? So don’t
Give up on it yet: the scenario.
You know that it’s just as tired of you
As you are of it. Still, there’s much more to it
Than that. It does not not get you quite wrong.