New Song: “My Late Grandfather Calls at 2 a.m.”

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This month’s song is a collaboration with Nikkita Cohoon. Nikki is an artist, writer, and one of my wife’s closest friends. A while back I suggested setting some of her poetry to music, and she sent me a few options. The words of this song come directly from one of those poems. I enjoyed writing music for something that wasn’t originally intended to have a musical element. I tried to capture the disorienting feeling of being unexpectedly woken in the night.

The song also features Matt Bell (a friend of both me and Nikki), whom you can hear sharing vocals with me. For interested Memphians, Matt leads a monthly Sacred Harp singing at Evergreen Presbyterian Church. You can contact him at invisiblegardener@gmail.com

This month’s original artwork is again by Lindsey Glenn using an old family photo.

Here is the full text of Nikki’s poem:

My late grandfather calls at 2 a.m.

The pattern of inset circles swells
in my voice—phonemes caught
on the haunches of my longing.
Your words full of echoes and static.

And in your voice phonemes catch
dust and solar wind. The phone chord jostles
your words (full of echoes), and static
struts my throat. Your voice is also

Dust. Solar. Wind. The phone chord jostles
memory, I have not stopped
the struts that line my throat, your voice—also
memories. The proof of our correspondence:

memory. I have not stopped
on the haunches of my long
memory: the proof of our correspondence,
the pattern of. Inset—circles, swells.