ONE LAST LEAF IN WINTER SKY
One last leaf in winter sky
Beckoned cold wind, heaven sent.
Naked branches whipped awry,
Bowing down and penitent.
Trembling did they dispossess
At the weeping clouds’ advent.
Was I only passing by?
Looking up to acquiesce,
When I could not circumvent
I endured to stay bone dry.
I drowned again upon my couch
Face down. I was a floater,
Untidy, above a reef of empty bottles,
Nibbled by dreams
Not about you.
When I awoke I saw you here
Measuring my window for curtains.
“It is your birthday” I heard you say.
I had not seen you
You walk me to the beach.
I am unshaven, unclean.
With warm strokes my clothes you keep.
Fingers of the moon reach,
Grasping waves to wash my feet.
And I kneel gasping into the water.
You lead me up to the oasis.
Our tongues together confess.
I entwine you in the salty grass,
Jab wet burrows
Hungering for morsels of
LOS CAMBIOS DE CATALINA
THE CATALINA VARIATIONS
Cita en el aeropuerto:
Meet at the Airport:
nuestros corazónes estallan en llamas
Our hearts explode into flame
que nuestras lenguas no logran apaciguarse.
Our tongues cannot quench.
Una pequeña multitud se reúne.
A small crowd gathers.
Alguien se ríe: “Oigan, paguen cuarto!”
Someone laughs “Hey, get a room!”
Los dos estamos llorando.
We both are crying.
Encuentro en el aeropuerto
Meet at the Airport:
Tú encerrada por una guardia de niños
You have a shield of children
Y el ceño fruncido de tu esposo.
And your husband’s scowl.
En la Terminal
At the Terminal
Me arrodillo ante mi Reina.
I kneel down before my Queen.
Los dos estamos Riendo.
We both are laughing.
Te encuentro en Facebook:
Find you on Facebook:
¿Por qué no me respondes?
Why won’t you reply to…
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An Underground River Interview with
Leonard Giovo, Manager of The Lickitty Splitz
By Zelmo Mutz
Special Assignment Reporter
[I met up with The Lickitty Splitz manager in the town of Bothell, Washington, in the Park at Bothell Landing at the amphitheater] Leonard, for the record: you are the manager of The Lickitty Splitz, but you are also the father of two of the band members: Alanna and Kate?”
And their mother is the well-known romance novelist Marie Lovall?
Tell us about Alanna and Kate.
Alanna and Kate were fraternal twins, but they called themselves “sorority twins”. That gave them the name of their first band when they were 10-years old, the folk duo “Sorority”. They wrote their own songs together from the start. They used to give free concerts right here at this amphitheater for park goers. I have a trunk of old mpg’s of them playing together. They were always together.
Where did they get their musical inclinations?
Well, I was always in a band. When I was married to Marie, I was touring in a rowdy band called “Blo Chunks”. That should indicate what our commercial potential really was [laughs]. I was gone a lot of the time, though. Kate took piano lessons for years. She quit after her mother left us. That was a heart-rending scene because Old Miss Brundage adored Kate and had all kinds of hopes that she would become classical pianists. I can still smell Miss Brundage’s crowded old Victorian apartment, the walls covered with antique framed pictures, busts of the classical composers on the piano, lace covers on all the tables and furniture. It absolutely broke her heart when Kate quit. The girls were really hurt when their mom left, and so Kate was kind of cruel to Miss Brundage.
What about Alanna?
She was always impatient. She wouldn’t sit still for formal lessons. She taught herself guitar, and she learned what she wanted to from Kate.
What music influenced them?
They would listen to classic stuff like The Blow Guns and The Skanks for the energy, and they listened to bands like Pink Motel and Finger Pie, for example, to learn how to get the most out of only a few musicians.
You said you were gone a lot. How did touring with your band affect your family?
Well, Marie finally left me… left us, when the girls were seventeen. Marie and I had become like half a person together. Something had cursed us. We just started having nothing but bad luck. And even when I was there physically, I was gone mentally; working on new tunes, arrangements, gimmicks, stuff. You know: desperately trying to make it.
How did you first meet Marie?
She had a blog on an online writer’s colony. I liked her stuff, so I would post comments. Eventually we arranged to meet and we hit it off. We got married even though everyone told us to “establish our careers first”. Oh, well. They were right.
Do you still communicate?
Yeah. All the asshole men in her novels are based on me [lights up a big black cigar].
Are you a cigar aficionado?
Well, my old, VERY OLD childhood friend is “Katmann Cross” [He grins mischievously], the famous cigar critic. He sends me great cigars. He thinks I have an unsophisticated palate, because I used to smoke $5 drug store cigars. [Blows an enormous billow of white smoke] Let’s take a walk.
[We begin to stroll along the old logging slough (pronounced “SLEW”), a winding waterway where loggers used to float their cut timber] This is a beautiful little town.
Perfect place to raise a family, right? Except “no matter where you go, there you are”, so it was no guarantee. I still like it here, though.
What was it like raising two girls on your own?
I was clueless. My sister would give me advice, but they were like wild animals without their mother. I couldn’t control them. I didn’t know how. Until I became the manager of the band, they ruled me.
Well, I knew clearly what was required of them as a band. And they respected that.
What was it like in the early days?
I mortgaged our house for their expenses, I was the Road Manager, I drove the van, I was the Roadie, I was the Sound Man out in the audience. I even used my laptop keyboard to add orchestration live, but I never got onstage with them; it would have been too weird. It would have ruined their “ambience” [laughs].
How did you learn about managing a band?
From my own band experience I learned what not to do. Plus, we were family, so there was a big element of trust that got us through a lot of the growing pains.
How did you get gigs in the early days?
Well, I networked a lot of old contacts plus the girl’s had already put the band up on Facebook. I posted performances, showing the audience responses. That saved the hassle of an audition most of the time.
What was the band’s lineup at that time?
Alanna played guitar, Kate played keyboards and keyboard bass. They went through several drummers before they drafted their cousin Jen, who was really “out there” and played synthesized percussion.
Where were some of those early gigs?
Well, they were popular at the women’s prison in Olympia [he grimaces], they played some wild gigs at the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island [shakes his head]. But before The Lickitty Splitz, that is, before their mother left, Alanna and Kate gigged a lot at the big modern First Baptist church, calling themselves “Chastity”. Alanna would joke and pronounce their name “Chase Titty”. They wrote a bunch of religious songs. Kate liked the writing challenge, but Alanna would say that they were “song whores” who would write for whoever paid. They got “Pastor Bob” to finance an album of religious songs called Divine Design. And I assure you that they dressed nothing like The Lickitty Splitz.
Were you religious?
Marie was religious. I just thought that they should at least be exposed to religion. Sooner or later in life, you need to turn to something besides other people or the government.
How did Alanna and Kate write songs?
Kate writes the simple well-crafted pop songs. Alanna does the concept stuff; but they both help each other, both write good melodies, and they always incorporate their beautiful harmonies. After their mom left, they started writing songs like “Get a Room”, “Lollypopper”, and “Raw Dog”. They just morphed into The Lickitty Splitz.
What were rehearsals like?
Alanna is the theatrical one. But she didn’t want a choreographer for the band because she said “The Lickitty Splitz will never do Vegas”. But she practices her onstage “moves”. She thought that the Splitz could just watch each other out of the corner of their eyes and just follow the “moves” of whoever was spotlighted at the time.
Yet, aren’t all three of the Lickitty Splitz friends with The Tar Babies?
Yes. But they like the Tar Babies choreography. It is not cliché. The Tar Babies have that radical influence of black soul, hip-hop, and modern ghetto, so they are a totally different band.
And The Lickitty Splitz insisted on touring with The Tar Babies?
Yes. In the early days, they would meet each other on tour and they all agreed that whoever was making it would insist on the other as the opening act. They leap-frogged like that for several years. Today they are still mutual fans.
What is your role in the studio now?
Well, the three girls and I have to agree on everything. I insist on final Producer authority. But I also keep my creative chops by acting as Arranger. I keep it simple. For example, on Dummy Warhead’s Greatest Hits, for the “orchestration” on most of the songs I just doubled the girl’s parts.
As the father of two girls on the road, how do you deal with the usual temptations of “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll”?
Regarding drugs, I was scared-straight after Marie left me. My band fell apart. I was not going to go there with my daughters’ band. And I played Bouncer and Body Guard to the girls as well as I could. It forced me to get in shape. I don’t want to know about “the sex” [he laughs], but the girls were always sneaking boys backstage, into the hotel rooms, into the studio.
What about your own temptations?
I had too many obligations just keeping The Lickitty Splitz moving forward. For years I felt like I couldn’t sleep.
And you didn’t remarry?
No. Why would anyone get married if they weren’t going to have children? And I am not going to have any more children, thank you. Besides, I don’t think any woman would have been accepted by the girls. And I don’t think any woman could have withstood their dislike.
I have to ask this: what about the rumors of you and Jen, the percussionist?
Fame can be creepy like that. Success really is a two-edged sword.
Sorry, but you didn’t really answer the question.
[He answers in a President Bill Clinton imitation voice] “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”.
That is a strange choice for a denial. Some people say…
Alright! No. N-O. I know those kinds of questions sell magazines [narrowing his eyes]. And, we all know what can happen to “some people”.
Since you have alluded to it, I have to ask about Alanna and…
Don’t even speak his name [His face knots and tears come to his eyes]. When Alanna got … [he can not say “raped”]…attacked by that piece of shit, I lost my mind. When Alanna found out she was pregnant, she wrote “Jelly Bean”, but Kate had to produce that session. I just couldn’t be there. By the time Alanna wrote “Olla Podrida” about the abortion, I could barely handle it enough to be there.
But, her assailant [Addison Todd] was soon after that found murdered and mutilated. You became a suspect.
I was glad he was killed. I wish I had done it. All I could think was how this piece of shit hurt my daughter, and now he was going to destroy The Lickitty Splitz.
And there was that awful scene in front of the police station.
Yeah. His mother was screaming at me “He was my son!” and I yelled back “Now he’s garbage!” right in front of the TV news cameras. I was still out of my mind. And I’m still glad he’s dead.
When you were released, what did the police say to you?
The piece of shit was involved with a lot of bad people. It could have been anyone. It could have been some outraged fans of The Lickitty Splitz. I don’t know. I don’t care. Except I’d like to thank them.
Well, on a happier note, what does the future hold for The Lickitty Splitz?
We all took time off after that. The girls have been working on the new album for over a year now. It’s time for me to saddle up and ride herd again. I’ve heard the demos of the new stuff. It’s amazing how they progress. I’ve got some ideas for arrangements, but, you know how it is. Someone’s got to say “let’s do it, NOW!” The hard part is that initial “energy of activation” hump, just getting going again after all this crap.
- August 26, 1967
I hope you made it home safely and that everything is fine.
Our plane landed about 1:30 AM, Chicago time.
We had almost an hour’s wait tho’ because something was wrong with the electricity and then we had to wait our turn to use the runway.
Eventually we made it tho’ and everyone’s parents were there.
Mom started to cry and everyone was talking at once and hugging everyone else.
Paul’s mom gave Mrs. Johnson the gold bracelet from our parents.
I didn’t get to bed until almost 6:00AM, but I woke up at 9:10 and was wide awake.
So I unpacked, ironed, washed clothes, read all the papers from the last week and a half, all the correspondence from my sisters and brother since I left, washed my hair, and generally tried to get used to the idea of being home.
I had to…
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THE HAIKU CHU CHU
MOON IN THE YOUNG EARTH
Moon in the young Earth,
Ripped away; that Moon yet stays.
I cannot let go
THESE THREE THINGS I KNOW
These three things I know:
I loved you, I love to write,
Without you I write.
THE LOVE ZOMBIE
Exhume me no more.
I am yet undead to you,
With a zombie love.
There’s no more pleasure;
Only easing of the pain.
You’ve surrendered me.
THE SINNER’S HYMN
Great is God, our God,
Greatest of all, Who is our
LE SACRÉ BLEU
I have examined
A life not worth the living.
What now, Socrates?
I, shadow haiku,
Cast from leaves moved by a breeze
That I can’t conceive
Follow This Link…
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In all the facets of his eyes, with Meadow of the Valley burning green,
The rolling colors up and down the hillside shined, petted by the wind.
Galahad the Grasshopper did thus not need to dream,
Offering to Aesop Ant, in passing, morsels of a leaf that he did love,
From high atop the towering weed, from where his heart did leap,
Called Galahad to him below, “Hey, can you stop, Aesop, my friend, and watch the spring in beauty burn?”
Aesop Ant replied, “Well, meadows do that sort of thing”, and tilting head from toil’s burn,
“You will find the Meadow is not always green,
And what is real is dreadful preparation. Somehow does the worst upon us always leap.”
Appalled at Aesop’s rude philosophy, cried Galahad into the wind:
“What of Love?”
Aesop Ant just smiled and waved good-bye, “Good luck with Love, a Dream.”
A shadow fell on Galahad, and startled him from Aesop’s troubling Dream;
Above him saw a Butterfly alight upon the flower, wings a prism interceding for the sunlight’s burn.
“Sorry to disturb your dreaming. I am Bethanie.” She sipped the flower she did love.
“I am Galahad. It is a lovely day.” His armor never shone before so green.
And Bethanie enjoined, “I hid when I was just a silly little caterpillar, dreaming of the wind.
But now I raise my wings to me and into beauty soon shall leap!”
Into every facet of his eyes did Bethanie’s true beauty leap.
Galahad did nod with every movement of her wings, to hear as if he did thus deeply dream:
“But now is time to drink the world and spill no drop into the wind.”
Then suddenly was Galahad no longer happy; something in his eyes did burn.
Added Bethanie, “But, you are welcome to accompany my journey high above the green.”
Galahad restrained himself from leaping then and there, while saying “That, I would be sure to love.”
“Can you stay apace with me?” asked Bethanie, “No matter what you love?”
Galahad without restraint said, “Yes, I can. For I can glide the farthest of them all after I leap.”
“Then let us go while sun still shines and all the grass is green.”
Away from Galahad she fluttered like a dream.
Galahad leapt to the sky, and spread his wings to glide; to leap and glide until his legs did burn.
Down the valley to unseen horizon blew the wind.
Galahad did slowly fall apace, and finally descry not Bethanie in bygone wind.
Heart of his, a beating compass, blindly pointed love
Until the sun of that first day was no more seen to burn,
And from behind, a full moon crouched and into stars did leap.
Galahad now found himself beside a tiny creek that fell into a sandy pool, inviting him to dream.
Wearily he nibbled on a leaf, and heavy was his armor, fading green.
Far away, a Cricket choir chirping helped his spirit into slumber leap,
Rekindling desire, cherishing an unforgotten Dream.
Something cold did his way whisper, withering that Dream so green.
Waking up most suddenly from all he thought were memories still green
Galahad felt fiercely cold and bitten by the wind.
In all the facets of his eyes were tears that froze that former Dream
Of springtime months ago; Of Love.
Winter cold was gnawing now upon his heart, to death if he away could no more leap.
Beyond the gloaming garden, thence he knew not when he fell, he smelled a farmhouse fire burn.
Shivering, an ember in his heart did once more flare and burn,
Shining in all facets of his eyes, again so brightly green.
Into the wind,
Gliding for his unseen Love
With their waiting Dream,
Narrowly ajar, an open window, shining bright, perchance another dream,
Through which Galahad could see a lusty fire burn,
Embracing in the fireplace a sweet dry branch with love.
And near the windowsill in colored lights bestrewn, there stood a Christmas tree still green.
Galahad nudged through the open window, as it kept at bay the wind,
To the Christmas tree then did he leap.
Sailing to the crowning star where with that faithful leap,
Galahad, now warm beside a golden light that shined just like his Dream,
Without the wolfish winter wind,
Within him fever still did burn,
Glowing tarnished armor green.
Thus did he believe delirium brought Bethanie, in visions of his Love.
Galahad was sure that now he truly saw his Love;
All the facets of his eyes across the room did leap
Above the mantle, on the wall, inside a frame of green,
Where Bethanie, transfixed as mid-flight in a dream,
Held her wings outstretched, where interceding shadows race and burn,
Everlasting in a chambered replica of wind.
Then Galahad in flashing horror saw a pin was driven through her back, to hold her in imaginary wind.
He cried out as he leapt across the void to be beside his Love.
Tapping frantically on glass reflections in which shadows race and burn,
Slipped and fell he to the hearth. In paralyzed despair he watched for an eternity the hellish fire leap
Until the flames revealed his fate inside a final Dream.
Into the glowing ashes dipped he tattered wings that once were green.
With wings of fire, back up to the crucifixion chamber’s frame of green
Galahad did leap his last, to lie with Bethanie and immolate his Dream.
The mingled smoke did through the open window toward unseen horizon leap.
VISIONS OF THE GONE
Into the party, as I gravitate
To the rugs, a couple says hello;
Bob and Cinda, fisherman and mate,
I kid you not. Bob rolls a joint real slow
From crumbled, sticky, bud de México.
He passes it. I take a hit and blow
The rolling smoke aside and then I cough
That I’m a grad student, and I know
Marine Biology. But, I’m off
For this semester and I’ll tell my prof
That I will make it up. (I know he’ll scoff.)
Oh, yeah. So what? The job market’s a trough.
Then Cinda rises up above the cloud
Of smoke where I am playing Philosophe.
She saunters to the kitchen where its loud
With jabber bent by turning heads; the crowd
Has eyes that open wide and then beshroud
Her brown hair and the soft and whispered smile
As Cinda navigates politely proud
In blue-jeans and a blouse that suit her style.
She opens the refrigerator while
The guys make faces like a crocodile.
So meanwhile, back upon the Persian rugs,
My words are flying out so infantile
That Bob just smiles so wryly thin and tugs
The whiskers of his beard, and then he shrugs
To Cinda who is coming back with hugs.
I tell them of my odyssey today:
Across the campus students swarm like bugs
To Science and Humanities’ display:
Cadaver Woman, naked, leaden-gray
Like plastic. Lying on a tray,
Her heart is poked apart for hours there;
Formaldehyde perfume my nose unplugs;
As tan young girls in flowered dresses stare
With green-eyed souls and chew their long blonde hair.
Of all things, then, a bomb threat stops the fair.
But, how I got to Steven’s party here
I can’t remember, so I’ll never care.
Near Muckenthaler Ridge it all comes clear;
The laughing, music, and the clinking beer.
So Mo, and me, and Dobzhansky appear.
And there is Steven, girl upon his knee,
Inside his house. We cross the wild frontier
Where we and all the co-eds will run free,
Debate abortion, and Society,
And watch for willing lovers, constantly.
I realize it’s past too-late o’clock
When Bob and Cinda rise and draw for me
A map to where their boat is at the dock:
286-G, the limit of the block
On Island Terminal. No need to knock!
Near where the tuna catch is being canned,
Their blue Volkswagen van they park and lock.
Their boat of 38-odd feet is manned
By just a seal who hears us coming and
Abandons ship, deserting out of hand.
We climb below the deck, all single file.
Therein, the cluttered narrows take command.
Inside the cubby-kitchen cooking aisle
Is Bob, who’s boiling coffee grounds awhile,
Then pours it for us, sipping with a smile,
As Cinda plays for me a cassette tape
Of Beach Boy songs, all that she could compile,
My eyelids slowly drooping like a cape,
I hum with “Sail On, Sailor” to escape
The buzz from beer and smoke and get in shape
With all the coffee, dark as prophesy,
That I can hold. I feel the coffee scrape.
Then Cinda plucks a book to show to me:
Another Road-Side (what?) Attraction (see?).
“It’s by Tom Robbins and its great”, says she.
Beside the nook where Cinda and I sit,
Bob is standing. Both of them agree
That Disco is a platter full of shit,
And yet I argue Bee Gees now have hit
Arrangements showing cleverness and wit.
While tugging at his beard, Bob starts to grin
Real wryly. As he listens to my skit
I know he thinks that Disco is a sin
And disregards my thesis. I can’t win.
I change the subject, finally. Wherein
I tell them that I like their fishing boat.
I ask them how they wound-up fishermen.
As Cinda rolls a joint, Bob clears his throat:
“Oh, I was in the Army to promote
Nguyen Van Thieu and keep his shit afloat.”
“Commanding men is mostly giving them
Activities. (Do not give them a vote.)
Without a mission, men will cause mayhem.
One night we cruise the Province of Quáng Nam
And bullets rain a hundred RPM.”
Bob’s lips lock on the joint, and he inhales:
“A round has blown away this guy’s brainstem.
We find a bunker, running down the trails;
My men dive in and then the light impales
My eyes. A booby-trap the bunker now unveils.”
“My men are all bomb-fragments in the wall.”
He holds his reminiscence, then exhales.
But silence is concrete between us all
As skeletons of memories start to crawl
With yellow bones. In blood they scratch and scrawl.
He starts again, “I was discharged and got
An office job with music in the hall.
And there it was that Cinda and I caught
The sight of one another. She was not
Unhappily divorced. And, we both thought
That working for somebody else did suck.
Together we would have a better shot
At being happy. So we planned our luck:
We didn’t let our spending run amuck.
I saved my pay; she sold her pick-up truck.”
“We bought this fishing boat. It was a deal
So far away from working for a buck.
And here’s a picture of it taken real
Soon after Cinda listened my spiel
To say our boat would have her name reveal
That Cinda, in bold letters clearly drawn,
Would have no sadness to conceal.
We have our own contentment from now on,
Awakening together with the dawn,
Horizon all around, the land foregone,
The water’s edge is all that lies out there,
Where fathoms stand on soil, down thereon.
But you had better know how to repair
An engine. Mend it ‘cause there is no spare.
Convenience like an Auto Club is rare.”
“For weeks to us no vengeful God displays.
Yet, though we live a dream of laissez faire,
The Mafia, at most ports, always pays,
But haggle not with what they do appraise,
For your catch. Going elsewhere can take days.”
“We shop over the side for most our food.
It comes to us. We still need culture’s ways
For beer and stuff to burn that suits our mood.”
Another fisherman comes to collude
Onboard with us, with wine, and I conclude:
These sailors (and that sailoress) will wait
For no excuse: no drink will they exclude.
“’Cause what’s the use?” says Jimmy. “To first mate,
The Cinda.” Boyish face cannot negate
He’s captain of the Zeppelin, sedate
For such a big guy. We four celebrate,
As we are tethered there against the tide.
“Just listen”, Cinda says. Our words abate
And I can hear the mussel shells outside,
That cling onto the hull and congregate:
They’re clicking, snapping, drinking until late.
Our bottoms up above them share their fate.
What is the Present but the Future Past?
– Reverend O.L. Duck
Moon Stream, can I row my dream
Where a sea bird flies?
Captain Breeze showing all the trees
Where freedom lies.
Sailor Shell, I can hear so well
The song inside.
I’m as light as a lover’s sigh.
I’m as free as a native child.
There’s nothin’ gonna leave me dry.
I’m gonna sail away on your smile.
Stars rise like the fireflies
Who saw high noon,
Unplanned, while a Southern band
Strummed a lazy tune,
On deck in the driftin’ wreck
Of a Tear Tycoon.
Everything I own is attached
And hung right all the time.
Good for lovin’, that’s how I hatched.
Since when is that a crime?
Big girls fit in little tales.
I warn ‘em but it always fails.
Lordy, Lordy, I won’t be long.
Just keep your motor runnin’.
Don’t let it stall.
Get it on, hard to the floor!
If you keep pullin’ over
Love will be gone.
I thought about takin’ you back, but
My love is such a short ride.
Look both ways down the track.
Problems come from both sides.
Two sides can make a one-way street:
Two sides who know not to meet.
THE PEOPLE WE WRITE
Oh, the people we wrong
And write to while we’re falling asleep at night.
I got your letter the other day
And I had to laugh at your paragraph
The thought behind it wasn’t clear
Because the tear caught upon it made a smear.
We used to scheme and find
We lost an awful lot of loose and spare time.
Wherever we went, sparks drew tears.
Like victims allied we had to decide:
If we needed that then we’re destroyed,
And nothing is something to avoid.
But our love grew stronger and it evolved
And ate only the people who were involved.
© 1974 Zelmo Mutz Publishing
Katmancross Agency, WI