Friday, April 16, 2010


John Kelly is bringing his Joni Mitchell homage "Paved Paradise" to LA. I saw him several years ago when I lived in NY with a guitar at a bar singing a couple of songs of hers - he's amazing. It's mimicry, but homage, and I think she's appreciative. He played at Fez in NY and she brought him a dulcimer.

I'm excited to see it, but it also reminds me of how much I love her music.

Here's he:

And here's she, singing "Sweet Bird", one of my faves:

This marks the move into "Hejira" at the end of "Hissing of Summer Lawns" to be critical about it, and "Hejira" has some of her best poetry - it's kind of emerged as my favorite of hers probably - if only because of Coyote and Hejira - that song blows me away. Her lyrics are always a knock-out, so here they are for Sweet Bird:

Out on some borderline
Some mark of inbetween
I lay down golden-in time
And woke up vanishing

Sweet bird you are
Briefer than a falling star
All these vain promises on beauty jars
Somewhere with your wings on time
You must be laughing
Behind our eyes
Calendars of our lives
Circled with compromise
Sweet bird of time and change
You must be laughing
Up on your feathers laughing

Golden in time
Cities under the sand
Power, ideals and beauty
Fading in everyone's hand

Give me some time
I feel like I'm losing mine
Out here on this horizon line
With the earth spinning
And the sky forever rushing
No one knows
They can never get that close
Guesses at most
Guesses based on what each set of time and change is touching
Guesses based on what each set of time and change is touching
Guesses based on what each set of time and change is touching

Gorgeous, right? Since we're stream of consciousness, and I have youtube open, here' Hejira, and the lyrics, which lay me flat everytime. With the music, it's just perfection. Never fails.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
There's comfort in melancholy
When there's no need to explain
It's just as natural as the weather
In this moody sky today
In our possessive coupling
So much could not be expressed
So now I'm returning to myself
These things that you and I suppressed
I see something of myself in everyone
Just at this moment of the world
As snow gathers like bolts of lace
Waltzing on a ballroom girl

You know it never has been easy
Whether you do or you do not resign
Whether you travel the breadth of extremities
Or stick to some straighter line
Now here's a man and a woman sitting on a rock
They're either going to thaw out or freeze
Strains of Benny Goodman
Coming through the snow and the pinewood trees
I'm porous with travel fever
But you know I'm so glad to be on my own
Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger
Can set up trembling in my bones
I know no one's going to show me everything
We all come and go unknown
Each so deep and superficial
Between the forceps and the stone

Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tribute to finality to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality
In the church they light the candles
And the wax rolls down like tears
There's the hope and the hopelessness
I've witnessed thirty years
We're only particles of change I know I know
Orbiting around the sun
But how can I have that point of view
When I'm always bound and tied to someone
White flags of winter chimneys
Waving truce against the moon
In the mirrors of a modern bank
From the window of a hotel room

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
Until love sucks me back that way


Elizabeth said...

I didn't know you were such a big fan of Joni -- me, too.

Thanks for posting the lyrics -- it was wonderful to listen and read them.

Criticlasm said...

Glad you liked it!

Malcolm said...

This is definitely off-topic so I apologize in advance.

I’m Malcolm from The Final Oscar and I wonder if you want to join in a smackdown I’m going to officiate. It’s between the nominees for Best Picture last 2008. I hope you reply for confirmation whether you’ll join or you’ll decide not to.

You can e-mail me in or you can just visit my site

I would truly appreciate if you join.

Thanks and have a good day.

Criticlasm said...

Thanks, Malcolm. Sure _ I'd love to.

Tanya Ward Goodman said...

Was just listening to Joni -- driving the husband crazy, but I LOVE her. xxoo