Monday, September 6, 2021

Djembe performances - video

 In August 2021 I purchased a Panasonic HC-V180 camcorder to do a better job of recording my djembe sessions.  I've uploaded several of those sessions to my YouTube channel, under a playlist called "Drumming - Wayne Farmer's performances":  playlist 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Djembe performances - early audio

Playing an improvisation on my djembe while busking on a warm summer evening on the sidewalk near Nate & Ally's on 3rd Street in Winona, Minnesota.  This was my first time playing at that location.

2021-11-29 update:  This recording has been replaced by a video that contains the audio plus a single image of a djembe.  The video is on my YouTube channel with my other performance videos, at playlist

Recording notes:  This 28-minutes MP3 recording was made by my Kyocera DuraXV Extreme flip phone, placed on the sidewalk.  There are nice accompanying echoes from a storefront and the tall building across the street.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Life

First, we enter this, our world:
newly born, created.

Consciousness is immature,
but potentiated.

If provided food and love,
growth's accelerated.

We discover self and home:
anxiety's abated.

Seeing things and wondering why:
whys articulated.

In response come explanations:
being educated.

Searching for a kindred soul:
discovered and elated.
Then to have it fall apart:
alone and isolated.

Again we wander, wondering why.
Life is complicated.

Wandering in nature's calm:
discovering creation.
Seeing that you have a place;
finding your relation.

Back into the world again
with some hesitation,
but now aware that each new cycle
builds a new foundation.

Thus the cycles will repeat:
practice dedication.
Grow with them and be at peace
with life's termination.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Junco

Here in my car by the side of the road,
close to a field of short stubbled corn,
a solitary junco is my entertainment
while I wait in the snow for my tow to arrive.

Surrounded and swayed by a brisk winter wind,
he rides on the lee of a cold cornstalk's stump
busily gleaning whatever is there.
Perhaps a few seeds, or a huddling insect
has drawn his quick eyes and small beak to that place,
to that one small cornstalk amid all the others,
where my human eyes can see nothing of value.

If I had not chosen to drive up this road
and then drifted wide into wheel-deep snow,
I would have not shared his fortunate visit
and he would have eaten his breakfast alone.
But I had come out, a solo explorer,
to view the sweet sight of another new snowfall
smoothly spread out across harvested fields
and to view all the contrasts that winter days offer,
of crystalline fluff upon evergreen boughs,
or of empty bare branches, dressed for the cold,
etching their essence of structural strength
upon this flat canvas of overcast gray.

It's a good place to pause on a Sunday morning
and to meditate here, with my pen in hand,
within this my temple of sky and soft snow.

When I turn to look, my junco has flown.
Unlike me, he is quite unencumbered,
floating so free above my snowy jail,
while scanning the fields for another small meal.

My tow is here.  Securing a hook,
he effortlessly pulls my car back on the road.
I and the junco are free to continue.
It's been a good drive.  Time to go home.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

To my half-brother, Robert, 1934-1949

Dear Robert,
you were the first child
that my father fathered
but also the first to die.
Brown-haired, smiling,
bearing the high forehead and glasses
that I would later wear,
you were the successful prototype
of the child that I would soon become,
conceived just eight months,
and two wives,
after your death.

My father had moved on,
leaving you behind eight years before
when you were only seven.
I may never know why.
The divorce papers had read
"extreme cruelty"
yet my father was never cruel to me.
Perhaps by then
he had seen enough of cruelty
as he and his soldiers killed, and were killed,
in the swamps of Leyte -
on the ridges of Okinawa –
eight thousand miles away
while you were turning eleven.

You were keenly interested in aviation,
but would never spread your wings.  Instead,
you sank beneath the chill waters
of a muddy Nebraska creek
when a summer frolic
took your breath away.

I wonder –
did your spark then defiantly rise
and swing westward across the Rocky Mountains
before coming to rest eight months later
where I was just becoming alive
in my mother's womb?

Perhaps you grew along with me
and shared my own delight
as I assembled models of rockets and missiles
and watched two men
walk across the Moon.

Will you wait for me?  Before I die
I hope to stand above your grave
and read this paltry poem to you.
Perhaps some warmth will find its way
into your long-cold bones or ashes
and soothe you as you lie there.
Perhaps, if I am quiet enough,
I will feel your subtle presence
and hear your simple voice
whispering in my ear.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Clouded

(inspired by this painting by artist Denise Sedor
at www.denisesedor.com)
The rain has washed my window clean
and yet when I look out
at what I hope will be a moment's joy
what I see brings me no pleasure.

Instead of clarity
instead of bright colors
there is a muddled and muted smear,
as if a palette knife has been
swept across the window.
I strain to understand what I see
just for a moment
but then the effort is too great
and I turn away.

I never know what to think.
Would I see a brighter scene
if I opened the door
and stepped outside?
Or has the knife
smeared itself across my brain
filling the sulci with putty
and obscuring the details?

I've come to prefer the latter.

Friday, June 12, 2020

COVID-19 Blues

(sung to the tune of "Folsom Prison Blues")

I feel like I'm in prison
Don't know when this will end
I stay in my apartment
'cause it's what they recommend.

Yes I'm stuck in COVID lockdown
I wish I could be free
But that virus is pandemic
It's got its eyes on me

---

I see those 20-somethings
They're all without a mask
I know they won't be coverin' up
Even if I ask

Yeah, they're all a-sympto-matic
They're actin' wild and free
But they're carryin' that virus
And, Lord, I'm seven-ty three

---

Our President's a genius
He always tells us so
I wish that he could tell me
Somewhere safe that I could go

But I hear his home's infected
That virus wants him too
And if he can't solve this problem
I don't know what I'll do