CELEBRATING LIFE
AND DIVERSITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo by Dan Chapman ©2001 Stanyan Entertainment Group

A Thought for Today

Brotherhood is as plain as your reflection coming back from someone else’s eyes.

 

Hate damages the heart; it poisons the mind, weakens the spirit and darkens the soul. It doesn’t just touch the perpetrators and recipients it diminishes all of our lives and lessens our ability to love. It chips away at our self esteem and blunts the knowledge and understanding we can only arrive at by coming together with people unlike ourselves.

How do we learn about life and ourselves, we do so by sharing experiences. We wouldn’t know how to laugh if we hadn’t heard laughter from others. We learn to weep because the people we’ve come to know and care about and trust die, leave or abandon us.

We are a nation and a world of diverse people. They come in all sizes colors, attitudes and with varying degrees of opinions and knowledge. Most arrive with experiences and ideas they are willing to share with us if we willing to let them get close enough to do so.

Blacks we imported from Africa gave us our only truly native music. Jews from Russia, Poland and Germany wrote American popular song. No Jews, no Broadway. No Blacks, no Jazz. The wandering Jew because he had no country of his own carried history in his head and became the American inventor, mathematician and one of its principal story tellers.

Because they’ve always been made to feel different Gays create their own fashion, a kind of signal. They dress to meet each other, fifteen minutes later what they’ve been wearing becomes the uniform of the so called straight street. Let’s not kid ourselves, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfigger and Calvin Kline didn’t do any pioneering work in fashion. They picked up all their latest styles by summering at Fire Island. Gentlemen, don’t look in your closets too closely, you might discover that row of shirts and suits look suspiciously like the garb on that ‘faggot’ you thought you saw yesterday on the street.

Women work as hard as men and are probably more honest in the bargain since they have traditionally been left at home to raise the children and they want to bring them up right. Do they thrive on the same pay scale as men who do the same jobs — or in some cases the jobs they do that are supposedly done by the men who pay their salaries? Not yet they don’t.

People with eyes slanted “differently” than ours broke their backs building our railroads and roads. We employ Latin labor to pick our vegetables and clean our houses and lots of other tasks we’d rather not do ourselves.

But listen, as grateful as we all are or should be for the talents described above, without loosing tradition, isn’t it time we stopped thinking of Blacks as musicians, Jews as bankers. Gays different and not quite as good as “us.” Women at their best behind the stove or pregnant. Mexicans as them. Orientals as those?

People are people. You’re going to like some of them and learn to avoid those you don’t. Actually, that’s a pretty sensible plan. But how can you ever come to like or dislike anybody unless you’re open enough to get to know them?

I’M INVITING ALL OF YOU TO A PARTY

It’s my privilege to welcome those of you who can make it to the 2001 Celebration of Life and Diversity Event on July 1st in Redding California. Admission is free and it’s being held at Caldwell Park from 6-9 PM. Many of us will be coming early to have a picnic. I’ll be reading some poetry and talking about diversity and who knows, if somebody’s got a guitar and knows a few chords to a song or two of mine I might even do some singing.

Marghe Covino from Lambda will also be speaking and there will be other entertainment and even music for dancing. Hey, what good is a party without dancing?

All of you know how I feel about Human Rights and this important event is being held to commemorate the lives of two civic leaders Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder. Because they also happened to be openly Gay, Gary Matson, 50, and his life partner, Winfield Mowder, 40, were found brutally murdered in their Happy Valley home July 1, 1999. Each victim had been shot repeatedly. It was a hate crime that galvanized the community and has caused the coming together of all kinds of people to celebrate – not denigrate – diversity.

The two brothers who confessed to the crime (the older one even boasting to reporters and authorities about his hatred of Jews and Gays) have yet to come to trial. As if this act wasn’t senseless and evil enough the FBI has accused both brothers of torching three Synagogues and a building that housed an abortion clinic in the nearby Sacramento area. One of the accused men told a Sacramento television reporter that he mixed the ''Jewish cocktails'' used to torch the synagogues and personally helped set at least one of the fires.
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Despite the gravity of these acts of hate, don’t look for this to be a somber evening it really is a celebration of two people who passed through their community all to briefly and made a difference. They did so by sharing their concern and talent with their neighbors and the city they had grown to love.

According to Scott Mobley writing in the Redding Record Searchlight, “Matson helped found Redding's certified farmer's market. His work on the Redding Arboretum generated jobs when the area's unemployment rate soared to 14 percent. Matson and Mowder's cooperative planting program taught others to love native plants, leaving a legacy that will help improve Redding for decades to come.” That so many unalike people will join in a party to commemorate the all too brief lives of’ Winfield Mowder and his friend Gary Matson means they will go on making a difference.

Because I think of all of you as friends and family I hope you’ll join me at the party.

MY INVOLVEMENT

How did I get involved in this celebration? Anita Kornfield, a member of the Matson-Mowder Pride Alliance who is co-sponsoring the event is the daughter of an old school chum of mine. She sent a note with her father Richard, who like me was attending our 50th High School Reunion, asking if I’d join the program as a speaker.

The rights of all my brothers and sisters on this planet are of paramount importance to me regardless of their age, race, political party or who they choose to sleep with and conduct productive lives with. As I’ve said many times before “We’re all we’ve got and we all should be nicer to each other”

The crime that robbed Redding of Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder is no different or more abhorrent to me than the murder of James Byrd JR a 47-year-old black man who was tied to a truck by three white men and dragged to his death. Or the torture and crucifixion of young Matthew Shepherd on a barbed wire fence. It did happen a little closer to home, in the heart of my home state California, but hate crimes have no favorite habitat, they happen everywhere every day of every year.

You and I can work to stop hate and prejudice in its tracks. It sounds so complicated, but it isn’t. It is really simple and very easy. Get to know somebody before you decide whether you approve of him or her or not. Don’t dislike groups of people because you’ve been told they are different or undesirable. And anyway, despite color or ethnicity there are no groups of people. Each human being is different. If you’re going to judge them do so individually and by your own standards.

You’re different too and so am I. I don’t know about you but I glory in being different than everybody else. Aren’t we smart enough to make up our own minds about the people we encounter – that they either enrich our lives or have the power to potentially drag us down?

Prejudice is easy, tolerance a little harder. But ask yourself this, which is more rewarding and makes you feel better about yourself?

Concerning Matson and Mowder Anita Kornfield put it this way. “They touched our lives and our children's lives in school, Their loss was a huge loss both personally and philanthropically. We want their memory to be a seed for something greater.”

Years ago John Donne spoke eloquently of brotherhood, “Send not to ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee. I am involved with all mankind and any mans death diminishes me.”

So come to the party and celebrate. You know what I always say at the end of my concerts, “if you came with somebody be nice to them, if you didn’t. look around. There are some awfully nice and pretty people here. You might get lucky.”

ASK ROD

And now to the mail.

NAME DROPPING

I hope you find this next set of letters interesting. I certainly did as you might gather from my responses.

KURT COBAIN

Rod, Just wanted to say thank you for being a massive influence on me creatively. You, Allen Ginsberg and Bukowski really changed the way I looked at not just poetry, but writing in general. My question is, Kurt Cobain was quoted as being a major fan of yours. Did you know he was and what did you think of his work with Nirvana? Thanks. Peace out. John C. Whitney

Dear John, I was pleased that Kurt liked my work and the feeling was certainly mutual. He had a way of finding the unusual in every day things and writing about them in a very unique way. We had even kicked around the idea of writing something together. I had spoken with him on the telephone not long before his death so I was really stunned at the news. What a loss. To my way of thinking he was just beginning to find his legs as a songwriter.

I believe Nirvana was a solid band and the members rallied around Kurt and took inspiration from him in the same way The Doors were an extension of Jim Morrison. Kurt’s fans were loyal and growing but I don’t think the music business (and alas today more than ever it is a business) appreciated and helped cultivate his talent to the degree they should have. He was impatient for the kind of universal acceptance he was sure to have had by now, but with his talent he had every right to be impatient.

Thanks for mentioning me in the same sentence as Bukowski and Ginsberg. I’ve always considered them fraternity brothers and that was true of Kurt too. I miss him and I feel all of us have been robbed of his talent. All the best, Rod

JIMMIE RODGERS

Hi Rod, I wanted to pass on my fathers new web address.
I hope you enjoy it as it is in its early stages. Have a wonderful day and I hope to hear from you soon. Michael Rodgers


Dear Michael, it’s about time Jimmie had a site of his own. I really enjoyed it and know my readers will too. Your dad, like Glenn Yarbrough, was there at the start of my songwriting career. He was the first singer to record “The World I Used to Know,” "Someplace Green” “Another Country” and “Doesn’t Anybody Know My Name.” I don’t think Jimmie ever made a bad recording.

His version of “Bon Soir Mademoiselle” is my favorite and what he did with “The Lovers” was very beautiful. I remember spending many happy hours with Jimmie and your mother Colleen when they first came to Hollywood. In fact I recall when she was carrying you. Once I get back from my overly busy July we’ll get together for sure. Warmly, Rod.

(Proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Michael Rodgers, like his dad, is a songwriter and singer. He’s currently working with Al Jarreau. RM)

Click here: The Jimmie Rodgers Show - Branson, Missouri

BARRY McGUIRE

Rod It's me Barry McGuire alive and well in Clovis, California.

Rod, over the years I've thought about you countless times. Today I thought I would try to find you on my Internet connection. So, I clicked into ask Jeeves and here you are. Call me or E-mail me, I would love to talk to you, better yet I would love to see you. Barry


Dear Barry, isn’t The Net something! The idea of being able to touch base with old friends by clicking a mouse is really a trip.

What a great surprise hearing from you again. How many years, decades, lifetimes has it been? Isn’t it time we wrote some more songs together and what about some duets? Come sailing through the sky with me at Riverton! By the time you read this I will have spoken with you. Luv, Rod

MICKEY NEWBURY

Hi there, I asked you about this a few weeks ago, but you were having mail problems. You wrote me back but didn't mention the original purpose for the mail. So I decided to ask again.

I recently visited a Mickey Newbury Message Board and heard from several people there that you and Mickey are "mutual admirers". I've been a fan of Newbury for 26 years, and it wouldn't surprise me if you've been one even longer.

Any Newbury stories? Or perhaps just a word to your fans about one of the most perfect voices ever heard (and that on top of his songwriting talent).

Your new poem, To One Absent, is a reminder of why I was drawn to your writing in the beginning. To say so simply, and yet with such depth, the feeling of being away from a love you've finally found...that ache, and yet the knowledge that it's "all ok". You did it again bud. It reminds me so much of how it was for Bill and I before I moved to Canada. I can't imagine ever being away from him again for more than a few days.. and yet if it happened, I know it would be ok. Because he's "here" now, inside me.

Thanks for sharing your life and feelings with us yet again. Love from, tara


Dear tara, I'm definitely a fan. Can you send me a link to his site? luv, R.

Rod, Mickey Newbury reminds me a lot of you. He used to put out 2-4 albums a year, and then only released 4 in 8 or 10 years and stopped touring and recording. He wanted to spend time with his family in Eugene, OR where he still lives. He has a very active Message Board/Chat...in fact it's more like chat and extremely hard to keep up with.

Anyway...it's http://mickeynewbury.com It's not a great server ... really slow, so you have to be patient. I found that on several pages if I let it try to load for a while and then clicked STOP it would actually load. Love, tara


Dear tara, Mickey’s voice always reminded me of those lonesome whistles I used to hear as freight trains climbed the hill where I lived and worked as a ranch hand one summer. A long melodic sigh as the machine came up the mountain. He has one of the best sets of pipes of any male vocalist I’ve ever heard, his voice can give a low almost inaudible purr one moment and in the next soar as if he was aiming for the back row of a football stadium.

I think it would be hard for anyone familiar with both our styles not to see that we have, knowingly or not, influenced each other in our approach to a song. I’m sure, because he doesn’t just choose to sing his own beautifully crafted songs but tackles other material too that he gets the same questions I do. Why do you sing other people’s songs? Why not just concentrate on your own? Because they are there, that’s why.

Oddly over the course of his recording career he and I have chosen some of the same third party songs to sing: “Danny Boy,” “ Shenandoah” “In The Pines” & “That Lucky Old Sun” to name four that are on one of my favorite Newbury albums, “Rusty Tracks.” His own “Makes Me Wonder If I Ever Said Goodbye” and “Leavin’ Kentucky” are real heart stoppers on the dame disc.

I’ve been a Newbury fan since Dolly Parton and Bobby Bare introduced me to his music ages ago. As ever, Rod

MORE ON MICKEY

On the same day tara’s response came in I received the following E-mail.

Hi Rod, About a year ago I wrote you regarding Mickey. You responded that you were not only familiar with his music, but a fan. When I talked to him at that time, he indicated he'd also been a longtime fan of you & your music. I'd love to see you two make contact.

Mice’s health continues to worsen. A couple of months ago he was in intensive care and should have died. When able, he is still writing and very productive. I'm sure he would love to hear from you. I’ve enclosed his E-mail address & his telephone number.

If you wish to talk to me about this for any reason, I’m also enclosing my mobile and home numbers. Thank you, Dave Franklin.


Dear Dave, I’m leaving for New Jersey over the weekend and trying to get my head above water before I do so, but I’ll definitely be in touch with you and with Mickey during the time I’m in Atlantic City. The e-mails from Michael, Barry and now you about Mickey make me aware of time passing so quickly.

One of my as yet unfulfilled dreams is to make some recordings with friends I’ve worked with and with some of my musical heroes. Mickey certainly falls into that category. You’ll hear from me soon. Warmly, Rod

FRANK SINATRA JR.

I Am also planning on traveling down to Atlantic City to see Frank jr. Can't wait to hear him sing your song. Fondly, John

Dear John, I’ve known Frank Jr. for quite a while now but have become much closer to him since the death of his dad. His singing voice has always been so close to that of Frank Sr.’s that it has worked against his own career. He’s back on the road again and in a big way, after closing in Atlantic City he’ll spend the summer touring Great Britain.

If you think he sounded like his dad before, wait till you hear him now. The resemblance is uncanny. You won’t believe it. Before his father’s passing he made an unusual album entitled “Frank Sinatra: As I Remember Him.” Out of that concept has come a very musical and interesting act. He’s given in to what has to be his destiny and is finally performing his father’s classics, using a full orchestra and the classic May, Riddle, Costa and Jenkins arrangements that were done for his father’s appearances, singles and concept albums.

There is so much material to draw from that no two shows are alike and Frank Jr. strings the Sinatra standards he chooses together brilliantly and effortlessly with a biographic narrative that is unique and informative.

A couple of weeks ago he had Edward and I up to his house and we listened to a recording of one of his recent concerts. It was one of the most memorable evenings in my life and ranks right up there with some of the musical evenings I kicked back with his dad and listened to everything from Sinatra to Debussy.

He saved the best for last though and to my great surprise and delight played his version of “I’m Not Afraid.” Both Edward and I sat there in silence almost unable to comprehend what we were hearing. Edward actually wept. Young Frank’s rendition is magnificent and I knew at that moment that I had to drop everything else I had planned and attend the Atlantic City shows. I’m excited just thinking about them.

Frank Sinatra Jr. opens next Tuesday night the 26th of June at the Atlantic City Hilton and I’ll be in the audience for five of his six shows. I’d be very surprised if the concerts aren’t sold out, but if you live in the tri-state area, give it a try. This is a gutsy, unusual and potentially risky move on the part of the singer of the century’s son and boy, does he bring it off. If you’re a Frank Sinatra fan (and who isn’t) the man is back in one of the most musical and enjoyable evening’s you’re ever likely to encounter. He’s even got Bill Miller playing the piano for “One For My Baby.”

I guess you might get the feeling I’m more than a little thrilled about this event, John. As ever, Rod

PETULA CLARK

Hello there. Do you remember me? I was at the Los Angeles Petula Clark convention and we spoke for quite a time about Miss Clark and her talent. I gave you a CD, which you wanted me to sign, as I wrote the notes! I also sent you Volume 2 later on, did you get it?

What did you think of the selections on both CD's as a representation of her career in those times? They have both sold well I hope that you are well Congratulations on the recent success all over again of SEASONS IN THE SUN in the UK

Saw PC in Norfolk Virginia last week she was stupendous.
Regards Richard Harries


Dear Richard, Great to hear from you again. I really enjoyed meeting you at The Petula Clark Fan Club reception. Only last week Jim Pierson and I were discussing how much we enjoyed your in depth writing in the booklets that accompany the various PC collections.

I love your programming of both Vol.’s 1 & 2 and I apologize for not writing before now to thank you for the second set.

As you know the concert you saw in Norfolk was taped by PBS for a future TV special. Jim is the producer of the PBS special and he arrives back from New York tomorrow. I’ll be doing a taped interview with him as part of the ‘Pet Program’ and will say hello.

As you know, nobody, but nobody takes back seat to me as a lover of Petula's voice and most particularly her songwriting. The only thing better than both is the lady herself. Petula Clark has one of the biggest hearts and warmest souls of anyone I know. Our friendship, though we’ve been apart for long stretches, has lasted for decades and will endure, God willing, for many more. Sometime before the year is out we’ll get together to finish our album project.

All the best to you Richard and I hope we meet up again soon. Please write again and fill me in on what you’re up to these days. With you all things are possible. With admiration, Rod

TERRY JACKS: THERE HE GOES AGAIN

Rod, This morning I came across Terry Jacks on VH-1's show, "Where Are They Now?” He spoke of "his" song, "Seasons In The Sun". He even went so far as to talk about why he wrote the song and who he wrote it for. It really bothered me to hear him talking about "his" song, without ever crediting you or Jacques Brel. Does he think that we don't know the truth? Stacey Morgan

Dear Stacy, Despite repeated calls to VH1 they continue to show that interview with Terry where he takes credit for writing “Seasons in the Sun.” It’s kind of funny when you think about it, because during one of his ‘voice over's’ where he claims authorship, they show the disc and you can clearly read (Jacques Brel-Rod McKuen) on the label.

I’m not sure what Terry’s mind-set is in claiming to be the writer/composer of a song that was written before he attained puberty. You would think it would be enough that he made so much money from his recording of “Seasons” that he was able to retire off the royalties. Worse is VH1 continuing to perpetuate the myth. Wouldn’t you think they’d like to have some credibility as far as their network is concerned? For the record Terry Jacks total contribution to writing his version of the song was changing the wife Francoise to “Michel, my little one” and some doggerel about "you helped me find the sun and every time when I was down, you would always come around get my feet back on the ground”

My original adaptation from Jacques lyric is:

“Goodbye Francoise, my trusted wife
Without you I’d have had a lonely life
You cheated lots of times but then
I forgave you in the end
Though your lover was my friend”

Maybe “Michelle” who didn’t cheat on her husband with the dying man’s best friend made more sense with the bubble gum set, otherwise I have no idea why he changed the lyric. He did not get my permission to do so, nor that of the publisher. When the record came out I was in Mexico for a month working on the first version of my book “Moment to Moment.” By the time I returned home Terry’s recording was number one all over the world. Try to stop a hit record in its tracks, it’s impossible.

At first both Jacques and I were grateful that another one of our songs had attained popularity. It put a new roof on my house and helped Jacques (who by then had been diagnosed with terminal cancer) retire to the South Pacific and start a new, if all too brief, life. Both of us grew to dislike the Jacks recording because it was covered by over a hundred artists with the altered lyric. Among those who didn’t go back to our original were Andy Williams, Mitch Ryder, Pearls Before Swine and The Ray Conniff Singers. Still the original was good enough for The Kingston Trio.

Still, I’ve had worse cases of plagiarism. Another Canadian singer, Andy Kim, took a song of mine “Rock Gently” and only added one word to it calling it “Rock Me Gently.” He recorded it, put his name on it and it became a smash as “Rock Me Gently.” He even won a Juno Award (the equivalent to our Grammy) for best “Original” song.

Wade Alexander, who is a bird dog on the subject of my songs & knows them backwards, found a Reggae singer who took the melody of “Seasons,” wrote new lyrics to it and called it “Twice My Age.” Jacques & I are now co-authors of “Twice My Age” & receive our share of royalties.

Then of course we have Janet Jackson’s “Doesn’t Really Matter.” It’s been on two number one albums, the soundtrack of “Nutty Professor, II” and her current chart collection. Of course it does really matter because the song contains 24 bars of the verse to “Soldiers Who Want to be Heroes” in it. Miss Jackson takes credit as co-author with a producer who makes a habit of using two names in order to collect two thirds of the royalties and has been involved in several plagiarism lawsuits. Well, both of them are about to be involved in yet another one if we don’t reach an out of court settlement soon.

It didn’t all start with Terry, but for the life of me I can’t glean why anyone would want to put their names on something they didn’t write. By the way, have you read my new book “Leaves of Grass” or heard my latest composition “Night & Day?” Cheers, Rod

PS: Read on for “the proper way to do it.”

THE PROPER WAY TO DO IT

Rod, Kind of an odd story. I saw you on a program called Our World back in 1987, when I was nine years old. They were recounting the spring of 1968 everything from Peggy Flaming to Peter Max to George Westmoreland – and you read part of a poem from Listen to the Warm, which I didn't really get at the time because I was too young. I understand it better now.

When I saw it a few years ago, I bought the book, and have read it a few times, and I like it a lot. When those of us who weren't around for the late sixties think of that time, we think of it as being almost like a storm, like the end to the Beatles song, "A Day in the Life." Your writing -- quiet and peaceful -- is an interesting counter point.

I'm in a young, very quiet rock band. I wrote a simple song several days ago that uses some of the words to "Four." I suspect it won't come to anything -- we're pretty far outside the mainstream, and I don't know if the guys in the band will even like it -- but I wanted to check with you first to see if it was okay. I'd go out of my way to make sure people knew they were your words and not mine if it passed muster. I just think they're really good. Anyway, either way, thanks, Steve May, Staff Writer, TEQ/Mfg. Magazines, Pittsburgh.


Dear Steve, I’d love to hear what you’ve done with “Four,” maybe you could make me a cassette or better still burn me a CD of it so I can check it out. If I like it you’ll become co-writer of that version of the song and we’ll split the royalties earned from whoever records it. If I don’t like it, no harm done.

I’ve made this kind of arrangement with several writers and it seems to work out well. You can send your adaptation to me c/o Stanyan, Box 2783, Hollywood CA. 90210.

Hope to hear from you soon, Steve and good luck with your band. With best regards, Rod

THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER

This looks like the start of a very busy summer for me. This weekend I’m in Atlantic City for Frank Sinatra JR’s engagement at the Hilton, then home for one night in my own bed. On July 1st, as I mentioned above I’ll be in Redlands California at the Celebration of Life & Diversity. If you attend the party, don’t forget to come back afterward and say hello. We’re even working on setting up a book signing for First Editions of “A Safe Place to Land" at Barnes & Noble in Redlands. I hope to see many of you at both events.

In early July I’ll be recording then back on tour to Wyoming on the 20, 21, 22 of July in Riverton Wyoming, the 28th in Santa Fe New Mexico. Sleep warm.

6/19/2001 Previously unpublished.

Two new appearance dates just announced!

Booking for "An Evening with Rod McKuen" at the Riverton Rendezvous is open! Click below for more details:

Concert & Appearance Details

notable birthdays

Summer Solstice

Meredith Baxter o Ray Davies o Olympia Dukakus o Ron Ely o Mack Gordon o Michael Gross o Mariette Hartley o Al Hirschfeld o Judy Holliday o Bernie Kopell o Juliet Lewis o Mary Livingston o Mary McCarthy o Monte Markham o Mary McCarthy o Jacques Offenbach o Jane Russell o Francoise Sagan o Jean-Paul Sartre o Lalo Schifrin o O. C. Smith o Maureen Stapleton o Carl Stokes o Martha Washington o Prince William

Rod's random thoughts Oh, you summer coming in that I am just now coming to, reach out and help me if you can. Consider all the summers I've befriended and now consider, if you will, befriending me.

The summer does not pause or turn upon the blossom of a single rose.

Summer is the punctuation mark for all seasons.

To deny the freedom of the will is to make morality impossible.

THREE POEMS FROM
“LISTEN TO THE WARM”

FOUR / Friendly Winds

What I know of friendly winds
I’ve learned from being on the sea.
              sailing no place
going with the wind
making every harbor home.

I’ll show you friendly places now
Secret places known to only me.

My toll beach where nobody goes.
        A tree, mon arbre.
We may even see the wind together.

- from "Listen To The Warm." 1967

FIVE / The Time of Noon

You've been so long at the beach
you even taste like the sun
but the sun is much too warm
                                 even for love.
I mean--I want you
but night is only inches away
                 and I can wait.
Meanwhile
watch the indolent butterfly
playing on the tall flower
                              in the yard
and think about the sun's going down.
It always does you know.

- from "Listen To The Warm." 1967 - also used as "The Time of Noon" in the album "The Sea."

SIX / To Share the Summer Sun

You stand
among the awkward hollyhocks,
little breasts and big eyes,
love's machinery not yet working.
The dandelions trampled
the tall grass twisting in the wind
the lizard sulking in the sun.

You stand there
like some new flower
beautiful and ready to be picked.

This summer belongs
to the people of the world
who want each other.
The lonely have no right
to share the summer sun.

- from "Listen To The Warm," 1967

 
© 1967, 1975, 1981, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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