Saturday, July 18, 2009

jamesetta on my mind (29)

jamesetta on my mind

jamesetta hawkins, who for me is to the lovesong what
gwen brooks
is to the sonnet, transposed her birth name
to etta james & in early
1960 supercharged the colored
clouds of fine auric substance in my
desire; molded &
shaped my juvenescent feeling core
singing the lines:
i heard church bells ring,
i heard a choir singing...
in the echoing halls of my desire, those plaintive words
metaphoric moisture & vapor rise, made sensate
particles collide,
rub together, raising the charge to
hyperelevated levels. made my
blues electric, bright &
clear;made heartbreak a necessary nemesis;
taught me
that tears may be all one has when powerless:

all i could do was cry;
all i could do was cry…
her voice cried for me. made me love/hate the heartbreak
hooked me on the drama, the memories & fantasies
that made
the feeling worse. but this was what love was
about,wasn’t it?
later that year she put to wax the magical
words i needed my
beloved to say to me:
all i need is someone like u
my dearest darling, please love me too...
in the matrix of my desire, specialized structures were built,
set &
embedded; loss & need, two polar pillars stood in mutual
connected numbness, disbelief, separation, despair,
sadness &
loneliness with clay-footed, flavor of the day love
objects, the
embodied narcissistic essentials of well-being…
i don't want nobody if i can't have you
oh i can't love nobody unless i'm loving you...
& then came “at last”, that 1942 mack gordon/harry warren tune
that etta breathed life into. this song was the promise & the prize
& her voice sealed the deal. i ached with 13 year old anticipation,
visualizing what my true love would look like, what it might feel
like to have a thrill to press my cheek to …
at last, my love has come along,
my lonely days are over,
& life is like a song...
in the magic theater of my desire, love donned its wizard robes,
called for its transmuting wand, touched loss to make numbness
feel, make disbelief believe & separation whole again. gave
despair hope, made sadness glad & brought to loneliness an
exquisite, lingering humantouch. love transformed need into
self-efficacy & self-respect:
ohhh you smile, you smile
& then the spell was cast
& here we are in heaven,
for you are mine, at last!
but it never lasted, etta. it was always so ephemeral &…
temporary. u never sang of the outside fix that love could
be. u didn’t prepare me for the time when love stopped
working, stopped making me high;when i couldn’t stop
my mindless stumble thru a long life of ugly relationships,
no matter how hard i tried…
alone from night to night you'll find me
too weak to break the chains that bind me.
i need no shackles to remind me,
i'm just a prisoner of love.
but u couldn’t could u? warn me, that is. yr life wasn’t that
much different than mine. could it be that the reason yr
voice sings softly but unmistakeably in the background of
all my memories is that we are bound by the same addictions,
the same obsessions. is that why i hear yr voice so loud & clear.
i want a sunday kind of love
a love to last past saturday night
i’d like to know it’s more than love at first sight
i want a sunday kind of love
well, we have grown old together, peaches, & since i’ve
known every type of love, been ground down thru the
mill of love, reviewed the wreckage, revisited the scenes,
i need u, etta, the one who has been with me longest,
to sing to me once more, tell me that its not my fault,
that i’ve beat myself up enough, & that i’ve finally
paid the cost.

tell me, baby please, that self-forgiveness really
is the greatest love.

© Joseph McNair;2009


  1. What a wonderful tribute. Anyone who loves Etta James would get this and love this. For all of us Etta lovers, than you.

  2. Music can inspire us to be aware of the deepest feelings we have inside. It is essential to take consciousness of what we feel and express it. Music is one of those creative ways to express all kinds of emotions. Sometimes we can identify with a song, which can be thought of as a mirror of ourselves. How many times has it happened that we become ignorant of our own feelings, until they suddenly appear at the profound lyrics of a song?

    Music can take us back to past moments, remembering feelings that used to wander in our hearts and provoke torments in our souls. We remember those situations that caused those overwhelming feelings and that will never come back again. Music reminds us of the good times, but also the bad times. Then Music could be seen as disturbing, if we face uncomfortable emotions. But I do not think that way. I think that Music helps us take those emotions up to the surface and make us cry, shout, dance and laugh, turning our apparently unemotional rigidity into a release of emotions that wanted to be re-discovered.

  3. WOW good post professor!!!!:)Music is the soul of the world. It expresses sorrow, happiness, love and all other emotions. It is sometimes the best way to bring memories back to life. This allow the person to therfore express their tru feelings rather than to hide it .

  4. Wow. Definitely my second favorite out of the five read. At first this piece gives way to the feel that it was written primarily for and about Jamesetta (a wonderful singer and one I am looking forward to listening to again). Starting with feelings the author felt for the singer. Ah, to be young and infatuated. To learn of love through harmonious melodies from a voice that could melt the coldest of hearts. I remember being young and infatuated once. The feeling is sweet and indescribable, to feel a connection to this person without being connected in any way. That is why women read romance novels, and why ballads will never go out of style. These stories and songs create with their words an almost attainable future. To find true love at last, to see that happy endings do come true, that is the true allure of love. That is why we throw care to the wind time and time again, and why we never quite understand how something that started so sweet can turn so bitter. We let ourselves be swept up into their words and let their vision of love keep us in an enamored state, never once thinking realistically for a moment if this will work out. And then when it comes to an end, how can everything we read in books and heard on the radio about love be wrong? Did these creators of a perfect love lie to us? Or was it just an error on their behalf, they are human after all. When the love dies who is there to pick up the pieces? The stories and songs don’t explain that part of a relationship. Instead they move on, and create another picturesque look on love. All the while hooking us again to believe in the true power of love, a vicious cycle, and one that is necessary. For devoid of it I don’t think any one of us could move on without the ebb and flow of a rhythmic dose of hope and self-forgiveness.

  5. Every song has a purposeful meaning,and a song is written for someone,or something to relate to when feeling in love,or blue. Jamesetta on my mind,signifies a person's relationship to the one can identify with in a song,and the message behind the song. Love song's can resemble one's pain,or joy;the memory of a song can even trigger the person's memory based on their feelings. Falling in love is a element that anyone can identify with,including the youngest child. We have our first crushes as young as 5-years old, we fall in love even when we do not know the meaning of love without knowing it. Butterflies in the stomach is a phrase used as a crush on a guy ,or girl. Falling in love, can be a magical thing,but at the approriate age.

  6. Music is influential on many subjects especially love. A relationship goes through many phases. Each song Etta James sang about expressed a different feeling, or aspect on love, or what love endures before, during and even after. And the best thing about music it speaks a persons feelings. When a person is in love, he/she listens to love songs. But once that love comes to heartbreak, then the choice of songs change instantly.

  7. This piece really hit home with me. Relating music with life has always helped me get through the good and bad. Music can make a person feel like someone understands the exact situation they are in at that moment. If the singer is really good, they can even make you feel as like they are talking straight to you giving you the advice you so badly need. Sometimes we can find comfort in songs and other times songs can give us the boost we need in order to finally move forward with something we having been idling. I love music, and I love the messages that artists can convey through the use of sounds and melodies. Songs often times give a voice to mute emotions.