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NoteSpeak (Amori e Tragedie In Musica)

by Lisa Marie Simmons

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1.
Chillax 05:02
All stiffened up – All tense … Relax … relax -- Relax your shoulders, drop ‘em down, then perhaps it’ll all make sense. Roll your head, let go the dread -- Ease in – Ease out. Yeah, you should do your best, but that don’t mean you gotta beat the rest. No competition here ‘cept between you and yourself, that elf tripping you up, keepin you down -- laughin’ – bootin’ your memory round and round. It’s warm in here, it’s safe, you’re strong -- this is exactly where you belong. This skin may feel tight, but it’ll all be alright if you just ease in – ease out. Breathe deep and let yourself take flight. Don’t try so hard, don’t overthink -- give yourself time to synch. Relax your heart … relax your hurt, never gonna be what you cannot see, mired in complexity. You just gotta ease in – ease out … Breathe deep, let go the complexity.
2.
What is it about me What is it about me Seem like OCD What is it that I sweat the small stuff continuously Now here I'm supposed to be this real modern day hippieish chick Preachin let it go let it flow don't hang onto shit But I tug and I pull and I clutch and I grapple and I wrestle with life's perplexities When I mess up, imagine to have or see that mountain rather than molehill it doesn’t matter there’s no free will I’m never through any slight mortification will do Can’t seem to change that point of view Find myself probing the wound repeatedly 8X even though I know I should stop let it heal or rue the time wasted endlessly Why not let loose It's the thing to do Why not let it lie why insist incessantly Gnawing on that bone just breaking it into splinters in my teeth Gnawing on it alone Down to the marrow even in even in my even in my sleep grind grind grind down to powder down to dust gnash gnash gnash taking hours as if I must as if compelled held in a spell it’s all ground down shame running deep there’s no one around try not to weep and though I disapprove in theory in practice every time or nearly unable to stop for a minute knowing I need to cease and desist if I want that acquit Relishing reliving the exquisite torture of retrospect leads mostly to the uttering of an epithet or five or six But wait Listen Hear it in the mix now I can quit
3.
Samia 05:33
Samia Yusef Omar… Faster-faster-faster-faster -- how you flew, running while chained, you maintained every hope as you trained your eyes on the pinnacle. The Olympic -- Inspired, some would say even mystic. Your name is a mantra for all women oppressed; the nature and means in which you went about your quest can only attest to your grandeur. How you flew -- Samia Yusef Omar… Faster-faster-faster-faster -- Radiating star shooting through the darkness look down shine the path to take, lead on, we will come. Won’t forget -- Radiate you star burnin’ brightly for the masses look down and please light the road ahead, lead on, we will come. Samia Yusef Omar… Faster-faster-faster-faster -- I’ve read, that you were a joyous girl, though they called you a corrupted one -- Bright sun … condemned for the sin of standing out when that’s what being a star is all about. Going about your business fearless – with dignity, a sense of humor, as you tried for your family, for yourself, to find a way to live a life away from the blunt edge of that blade – you stayed in that Stateless Society born in 1991 just like you, and just like you it too died young. It had not so much to do with anarchy as with insanity -- While it left behind chaos, death and pain, you were left a heroine unsung, yet you lit a light that still is hung… What a journey to undertake now that took guts, that took heart -- the cuts you had to endure on the way indelibly imprinted on that fresh start; Somalia to Ethiopia, Sudan to Libya -- arrived in Tripoli, then, headed for Europe, entry by Italy …almost there, the very last leg. Samia Yusef Omar… Faster-faster-faster-faster -- Radiating star shooting through the darkness look down shine the path to take, lead on, we will come. Won’t forget -- Radiate you star burnin’ brightly for the masses, look down and please light the road ahead, lead on, we will come. Samia Yusef Omar… Faster-faster-faster-faster --
4.
Have you ever heard of that book by Frank White, The Overview Effect? That book made an enormous impression on me. It’s all about the shift in a drifting astronaut’s consciousness… The urge to protect those tiny beings adrift below that infinitesimal layer of atmosphere seen from above. It's a perspective that pulls when confronted with our own fragility; like the feeling of when we are surrounded by nature’s majesty, times infinity. In limbo in the cockpit of a spaceship, untethered, loose profound. In the cosmic space surround those men and women whose intellect demands a search for answers to questions renowned, they find… a connection with each of us; with each, and every one of us. A fundamental deep resonance -- How Lilliputian we are, how fragile, how precious… There is no individual. To them is revealed a pattern -- We have not yet found the solution. We are an endangered species; and the largest threat comes from none other than ourselves. When our heroes and heroines descend to this planet again, they are often changed. The connective brought about by the reflective contemplation of our world juxtaposed with the infinite of the cosmos, alters them. They cease to see ‘I’, let the ego go and wish it well, and struggle to communicate the truth, the beauty in being one wholly co-dependent race. Seemingly in a state of grace they seek to mitigate damage done by our propensity, to hate.
5.
Virtuoso 04:58
He sang his heart out all day on the street… opened his mouth and stopped folk’s feet. ‘Singin’ on the pavement,’ people thought, ‘Now why he do that? He should be makin cash. I’ma put his video up on YouTube stat.’ Playin’ for pennies, some weed for a smile -- a whiskey bottle sat at his feet. A musical legend, livin' the beat; voicing his heat, all his trials… Bared his heart and let it bleed in all kinds a styles. ‘Buskin's gettin' hard these days,’ he thought while being chased up the street -- like he was vermin to be exterminated by cops just runnin’ their beat. Like he was trash for the rubbish man; somethin’ for the trash can. Like he was nothin’, so much as a nuisance -- like gettin’ rid of him was just prudence. Audition for a spot in the subway? He would never ever do that, no way -- where’s the honor in being so chosen? He just wants to play, and he will… he'd played in palaces, castles and dives. Why audition, why go through that drill? His voice cracked sometimes, his teeth half black... He smoked thin roll up cigarettes and never looked back. He sang what he wanted and when -- not like those days back then. He'd performed for what passes for kings and queens, and superstars these days; those models, reality TV flash-in-the-pan actors who couldn’t speak if words were not put in their mouths, though they sure look like they can. Skilled in playing it upside down with a twist, anything, just ask, he did it. But now no-one would tell him when, where, or how. No one’s court jester, rather go it solo; be his own definition of virtuoso. And, oh, he sang and, oh, that voice rang up the filthy boulevard, down the honking thoroughfare while you stare. Sitting on an island in the avenue declaiming, with magnitude.
6.
A message to America from the Islamic State… the fringe faction, taking action -- beheading as a sign of protest, an expression of faith, not even open to debate. In New York City, a few days later, a man orchestrated for himself the same fate; beheading as suicide, curbside. The apostle Paul, born a Jew, converted to Christianity so goes the litany -- bared his neck, of his own free will; let all the watchers have their fill. What is it with humans, and splatter? They say Salome commanded John the Baptist’s head on a platter. In Brazil a referee had his head torn off by football fans and placed on a spike on the pitch; bloodthirsty crowd watching his body twitch... writing this list is making me sick. Been done in China – in Chile – In Denmark for witchcraft ... In England, too many to list; most often for treason. Have – we – no – reason? We are the ones who’ve lost our heads -- we have all been decapitated; had them taken from us, or handed them over willingly, to heads of States, to religious leaders and politicians, anyone whose position confers on them an element of pre-destiny of ordained knowledge, of what, we know not. As they stack their munitions and state their conditions, what is the real agenda? Always look to see who will profit when they ask for your offers. Who will rise in power? Who will line their coffers? Who’s buying the hacienda? That’s always the bottom line -- that is always the sign. Stand up and keep your head… Call for the immediate cessation of armed conflicts, denounce the abomination of the refusal of the havers to approach equalization; education, the foundation, not exploitation at the hands, of who used to be commonly known ‘as the man’. At the hands, of the one percent -- At the hands, of the dictators and presidents… At the hands, of faith being the explanation, the justification for barbaric acts, defying imagination throughout every denomination, and every generation.
7.
Every generation's war guarantees there'll always be one more -- Every generation's war, end 'em all or we're done for. As I record this my brothers, my sisters – there are somewhere between 43 and 50 ongoing armed conflicts today – something surely is amiss. Vision of Humanity, (visionofhumanity.org,) measures, then classifies, human aggression on a global scale. Seeking to make the reputably impossible utopian dream, a reality; World peace attainable. Working with facts, they break it down something like this: What exactly, constitutes a peaceful nation? What criteria can we use to measure how deep our penchant for devastation? Since the dawn of creation, we have had every generation’s war. Our nature is generous – every generation should have the chance to experience an altercation. Like a carnival barker we proclaim, “Come see what greed and hunger can obtain! Forgo education for a brainwashed foundation. Feed the flames of your father's hatred; stoke the fire of your country's catalog of complaints, with no constraints.” 2018's number one leading country of peace was Iceland. Then peep at the bottom of the heap, there lies Syria. Among Pakistan, New Zealand and Ireland, there are 163 countries listed. Americans got a lot of work to do, it's twisted – World leader and breeder of war – the U.S.A. places at number 121. Now, news flash, 2019’s numbers are in and who’s at the top again? Iceland, sitting pretty, while Afghanistan now ranks last. Now where, you may ask, is America? Slipping further behind, there we are at 128. We can’t get straight – can’t get clean none. We need to lay down that gun. Long way to go before we can create heaven here on earth. We score low on all the shit that' supposed to ensure we grow. As in enlightenment, not entitlement. Every generation's war guarantees there'll always be one more – Every generation's war, end 'em all or we're done for. It is widely believed that peace is ideal. So why do we measure what is worth waging war for? Passing it down like treasure, for the next generation’s pleasure. People cryin’ out, “1 state, 2 states, my state. Eyes for eye, teeth for teeth, passed down from father to son; a patrimony of hate. “Son, I love you and I treasure your life I’ll prove it, look, here, take this knife.” Every generation's war guarantees there'll always be one more – Every generation's war, end 'em all or we're done for.
8.
Reduction 05:49
Testing, testing – 1,2,3,4, tapping, tapping, on the floor. Each time she blinks, the world shrinks a little more to a tiny corridor. A tunnel of vision, each movement requiring precision. Dealing with the impatience of the uninitiated is exhausting; the attitude … the platitudes. Feeling humiliated, misunderstood and the cake with the frosting is, it’s hard to work, hard to walk when vision, like a red wine reduction, is evaporating. An’ what is exasperating it all, is the lack of understanding the constant fight not to bawl. With each passing day harder to shun the white cane ‘cause she don’t deign to show the world her weakness where once ruled strength; uncertainty, where once lay only surety. She gathers her courage anew each day -- Digs deep for assurance, keeping that despair at bay. Augmented senses keeping her balanced and challenged, in the best kinda way. A discovery daily, helping to allay fright… like the subtext in friendly voices during her perpetual night -- The sound of rustling choices, hers to choose. Antenna held out at length, she moves forward -- with growing purpose and strength.
9.
Honey 04:52
Here we are … in this warm, golden garden of a room -- Double wide, wicker bed, white – cotton – sheets. We don’t sleep… instead we bloom in each other’s arms. At once, everything is simple, getting lost, looking at that dimple. Why did I resist it so long? So hard, so deeply? How was I that strong? When it’s plain, as the soreness in my thighs that this is sane. This, is where, a… (Brought to bed, not to sleep -- all I want is you in deep. Lick your throat, kiss your face lyin’ in a state of grace). …warm, slow, trickle of time pours over us. All I know is you. With you succumb to every thrum humming through us, every strum of your hands on me. Our bodies won’t let us stop. Then again why would we? It would take a natural disaster to tear myself from you. We need to lie here heart to heart. I never really knew this definition of need so completely, this definition of hunger, this total disinterest in anything that is not … you look good enough to eat and feeling capricious I can’t resist a bite. I could swallow you whole – you are so delicious. What took all this time? Afraid of the word mine? ‘Cause none of us, not one of us can own another. I never courted a feeling of possession but it’s coming closer, wants to marry me and though I refuse that proposal, still, it’s got it’s claws in -- This is not the time for digression, no one is asking for a confession but I will tell you… I mean always to protect you. I mean always to respect you, in the morning too. I mean always to believe in you -- I mean always to stand or lie beside you whatever the case may be. Take it, I gift you, my key! That one, to the innermost me. (Brought to bed, not to sleep -- all I want is you in deep. Lick your throat, kiss your face, lyin’ in a state of grace. Sheets entwined, lovely grind, sweat drip, drip, drip, down your spine. Time roll by, yet, and still, we will never have our fill.)
10.
Chip 05:25
Answers to your questions … You look at me like you’re lettin me know they were the wrong ones. What’s with the aggression? I haven’t begun to be done. Now, you brought it up -- and I’m just talking truth. Being black in Italy… Well no way to put it wittily, there’s an awful lot of, bigotry. Of course, that’s not everyone -- an’ it exists every place, but why pretend that here is a safe space? I’m not trying to offend you … these things happen all the time. Passive -- racism -- counts, just sayin’… while you may have been indoctrinated, that doesn’t mean that I am obligated to pretend your ignorance is nonexistent -- it’s not like I’m goin’ ballistic. Wherever I go, I need bring patience with me … Teach and not sigh, rolling my eyes to the sky. The fact that you dare, poke your fingers in my hair, reach out and touch my skin -- That’s wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. If I were to say that to your face, I admit I’d be disgracefully ignoring your non-complicity, you really – don’t – know. So, every time, I try to explain with a smile how the twists in my hair are born; watch you torn as to what to ask next, and I am locked in dread cause I know there’s gonna be a long conversation ahead. I can’t stand on the street for a second I reckon, without someone asking how much do I want. Strangely enough, my white, Italian female friends don’t endure this same taunt. When people throw bananas at the first elected black minister in parliament, you gotta think things are a bit turbulent. Now Cecile, she got appeal, and a whole lot of style, she didn’t spit any bile – just stood there, and what made me smile was her astute reply: “What a waste of that fruit when people are hungry. Shame on you, thinkin’ you’re cute.” She’s workin’ hard to change the law and allow immigrants’ children citizenship. Now not to be bourgeois -- a freedom that to an American like me seems natural; you know, to be recognized as coming from the country you were actually born in, raised in – often the only place you ever been. What? Don’t you deserve to be a citizen? Oh, yes, that’s right, cuz you value roots -- when you asked, I said, “I am an American”. Your response was, “Yeah, but where are you really from?” I said, “Boulder, Colorado, what of it then?” You insisted and said, “But, where’d your people get off the boat from?” Or if not, you’re convinced that I come from whatever country you have visited that has principally black villages -- “You look so much like the Kenyans, the Cubans. Are you from Tunisia originally?” Not noticing me staring at you dismally. “See ‘cause I was there, or maybe it’s Rhodesia?” When I insist I’m as American as they come, you get mad like you think I think you’re dumb -- see cuz America’s so young and Italy’s so old. I wanna know, if you can trace back your ancestry more than 400 years; most of ya’ll can’t, so stop with that fantasy. Black slaves have been there since somewhere around 1619. You think you’re the first to ask me? No, that’s number umpteen. (It seem to me like you carryin’ a chip, you wanna get a grip -- we are colorblind, we got peace of mind.) Then, I’m the one whose shoulders got a chip -- “Uppity black, negro bitch, oughta be happy with what you got. Don’t deride this country,” you chide. “You don’t understand – those are just our ways, and this is definitely our land.”
11.
Chaotic – cosmic – confusion lay it’s claim on me, in my bones, in everything I see. Lying there, listening, to my heart, beat – beat – beat – beat – beat … Now I know, I am much too old to come off all angst ridden, existential flow, when I should really be thinkin’ ‘bout my lost potential -- my wasted youth, how long my tooth yet deja vu is haunting, you got it – taunting, just, out of reach; there is something about you, haven’t I seen you? Didn't I – know you then? Were we animals, friends? – Or is it just this same life? Again, and again, and again, and again … beat – beat – beat – beat – beat goes my heart … did it just skip a, beat? I need some sleep -- but I can't, for all that, beat-beat-beat-beat-beat-beat-beatin’ me. What's inside this skin? How do I even begin, to know the depth of the you-ness of you? The width, of the me-ness of me? Revelations … philosophy, mean nothing, to me, when all I can hear, is this; beat-beat-beat-beat-beat-beat-beat-beat-beat … pounding out the rhythm of my life, how much time I’ve got left in this body of water -- The surf comes, and goes, outside my window calling me that line where sea meets sky… What is reality? What is really fiction that I’ve got this conviction that I am a 20th century girl turned 21st century woman human being living now, here today, tomorrow gone; and does that beat-beat-beat-beat-beat die? That tide, that rise and fall? Aren’t we all just pebbles, thrown, circles – circling, ever widening ceaselessly, beginning to end? Karma’s a bitch – you say… holding everything in balance, every word, being weighed. Listen class, what you do, will come back, to bite you on the ass. Measure your actions, and your words, or mark mine in time, you will be revisited, like that old geezer, Ebenezer. Why not let that shit go, whatever, or whoever, it may be? No use in continuing courting that cycle obsessively. So, I took your advice, reaching for the good, doing everything I could, I would, I thought, achieve enlightenment … but for now, I’m stuck in this environment where what I dread is mostly in my own head. (Fight to drag my ass up, gotta get outta bed… What’s pullin’ me down? Harder that I try, I find, deeper I seem to sink. Lemme think.)
12.
Heavy 07:07
Hot-wired fences, and Columbine -- Tired horses, and bright sunshine… Your mother is so mean and bitter, a hitter, rarely spoke; when she did, plain talkin’, God fearin’ simple folk. Bringing your black babies to your mamma was your rebellion gone wrong. Feeling strong, as if you did not belong to her tribe you’d jibe and swear you would not subscribe to her philosophy; that though adoptive kids on the skids, we were your true progeny. Lines of racist hatred etched on her face, you promise us you will not make her mistakes -- But year, after year, you punish us three… using that heavy hand, you’d go on a spree. Heavy, is that hand; that wire hanger, that wooden spoon, often breaking in half slapping down -- Heavy is that sound… Heavy is experience difficult to endure… Heavy is an unbearable sadness, and you are the Queen of dysfunctional behavior -- Our savior, despite all-lovable if culpable a paradox of a woman; one day holding us to your bosom sharing your wisdom, the next, inflicting psychological or physical pain keeping us all on a very, very tight chain. We learned to survive heavy… We could read your eyes, and their subtext at a glance and tried not to chance your ire. We developed our sixth sense assiduously avoiding causing offense. And though this is all past tense -- Heavy left its mark… Yet, we carry spark and spunk, we have compassion for you and what you went through – and all the others too. We learned how to break that endless, timeless circle how to take the good and leave the ache. We strive never to sink beneath the weight of our shared history, and your mystery, and so, we create, our fate, rather than … capitulate.
13.
A Fazioli 03:55
Waking up, beside him, I pull the sheets over my head … and with his slim, piano-playing fingers, he pulls them down again. His laugh fills my eyes. He’s up, and tempting me out of bed with fragrant black coffee -- but I don’t want to leave our nest. I’d rather stay here, and enjoy the rest of this late, morning sun -- warming my bum, as he lazily uses those hands, whose fingers have been running scales up, and down my legs and arms all night long. Crescendos and decrescendos fill his dreams. My body; a Fazioli, cover open, resounding in the room -- sounding out the chords, F minor … B flat seven, and E flat. Resonating within, back to where we all begin. The smoke from the night before, lingers in my hair absorbed from a retro cellar bar which decadently ignores the law and wants to recreate jam sessions long gone, when folks like Monk, and Billie, Miles and Horace reigned supreme. And Ah, Ah! The smell of him -- like a schoolroom in autumn, it’s a memory ... sunshine and freshly sharpened pencils with a hint of fallen leaves. He smells of learning and growth and thus, what other sustenance is necessary? Kissing him I drink in, all – I – need; and it is life sustaining. Kissing him feels like gulping down a long, tall, cool glass of water, greedily, on a hot, hot summers day.

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released March 13, 2020

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Lisa Marie Simmons Italy

"Musically & vocally, NoteSpeak consistently changes, shifting from style to style – acoustic jazz solos into hip-hop beats into harmonized gospel vocals into electronic jazz and fusion into free verse rhyming – and yet seems to constantly groove... " All About Jazz Chris M. Slawecki ... more

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