MarsEarth

Old world wisdom, new world insight – poems, poetry, philosophy, dreams, commentary, ideas


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Opera – the OG Mash-up*

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

The Magic Flute

What is the attraction to opera?

It is symphony and brass band, plus more.

It is ballet and passionate couples, but still more. 

It is theater with murder and lust and gentle creatures, and yet much, much more.

I saw my first opera at the age of 10, it was a travelling company performing a snippet of the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart opera “The Magic Flute.” It was loud and boisterous.

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La LLorona – the weeping woman (revisited)

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

la llorona, marsearth,

Natalia Lafourcade

There is a legendary tale in Mexico (and the American southwest) about a beautiful woman who weeps in anguish and sheds many tears.
She is a woman whose children died.

It is said that her ghost haunts the rivers and streams and waterways because her children drowned.
And she drowned them herself – in anger against her husband’s unfaithfulness.

Among the stories told and re-told in families with Hispanic traditions,
the tale of “La LLorona” (lah yore-RONE-nah) is probably the scariest.

I have heard versions in English and in Spanish,
and with a very few embellishment, the haunting cries of this distraught woman give chills to this day.

(Thanks to my Tío Andrés, our Spanish folktale story teller.)

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What are numbers for? ( 3… 2 … 1 … Lift Off!)

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Our interactions with numbers
in the twenty-first century
confess a relationship which is akin to a kind of friendship.

Watch out, because if we get too cozy with nicknames for numbers,
we will be forced to tow the line of their significance
and this will just go on and on into infinity.
[nerd joke]

Let’s have a look at how we talk about and interact with numbers,  
including what kinds of names we give them.
We think we are in control, but the names reveal that they have a hold over us.

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What your BRAND CANNOT DO (with a cell phone)

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

I woke up this morning. I guess that was a good thing? I got to work and discovered that I forgot my cell phone at home.
As a commuter I was unarmed with video “gotcha” technology.
More importantly, I was not distracted by incessant texts.
I was able to turn on the car radio and listen to real people — speaking — on the air — to me.

Usually, when I get to work my older friends ask me how I am doing.
Telling them anything other than the truth is betrayal.
So, the confession they hear is, “I got up. So, now I’ve got something to complain about.”
And we laugh.
My younger friends ask me, “How is it going?” Telling them anything other than “It’s all good” is TMI (too much information).
Neither group notices I am off the grid this day.
Has this happened to you?

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Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – Runners Up

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Here are the songs that were certainly on the order of  sad/ melancholy. Obviously, they had so much more anger or enthusiasm than the numbered ones that they floated on the proverbial pool of tears. Nevertheless, I was determined to root out the rock and roll songs that sank to the bottom of despair and discouragement. Apparently, there is a lot of gloomy frustration and heartbreak amongst us.

Real life is why we have so many tortured souls who seek out artistic ways to deal with and work out their issues. Thank heaven for music.

Here are a group of songs with a heavy touch of sadness. They are so good, and thankfully still enjoyable, without kicking up any trauma or ripping off any scabs of pain during the performance. 

I share them with you below. The next installment will be the #1 saddest of all. Promise.

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I missed a light

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

I missed a light
because I followed the speed limit
I did not die. 

I put my phone down and listened to the engine
idle smoothly, then headed across a bumpy road
which reminded me of my childhood. 

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 2

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

How many times have we felt as if the world was against us? Like we were somehow earmarked for bad things to keep on happening? As if it was not enough to get bad news, but also to have something embarrassing compound and insult? Maybe at least once in life, or maybe once but for a long period of time? When this kind of “overkill” descended upon us, it was uncalled for. Not necessary. No real reason. Like being victim of collision on the open sea. As a lightning strike. We ask G_d, “Why is this happening to me?” and at other times, “Me, again?!” In some circumstances it may feel as if life itself is falling in all around us.

For Irish singer-songwriter, Gilbert O’Sullivan, born Raymond Edward, on December 1, 1946 (and still composing), expressing pain and suffering, separation and anxiety in music made for a successful career. His epic hits in the early 1970s were gateway works which single-handedly expressed the anguish of losing a loved one. They are now iconic in the world of popular music. Gilbert was born in Cork Road, Waterford, Ireland. While still in grade school his family moved to London, and later, Swindon.  As a teenager he played drums in a band named Rick’s Blues. Band members included guitarist  Malcolm Mabbett, bassist Keith Ray and Rick Davies, who later founded the progressive rock band Supertramp. Gilbert’s musical talent as a solo artist was heralded greatly in America.

His personal life did not play out in his songs, surprisingly. Gilbert was exposed to gut-wrenching suffering of death, disease and disappointment which allowed him to craft songs that we relate to. Recently, he told a reporter that, “a good lyricist has to have an understanding of [sad] situations, and this allows me to go into an area and write about it in a genuine way.” He went on to say that he did not know his father well growing up. And he found out that is father did not treat his mother well.  What is the sound of the Human psyche when it reveals the ruin of another person?

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