Songs for when stranded on an island.

Despite admitting her “musical vocabulary is limited to simian gestures, deep nods, and stink-face grimaces,” poet Jennifer Knox lists the music she’d take with her to a desert island.
Full disclosure: despite my seven-year stint as a third-chair clarinetist, my musical vocabulary is limited to simian gestures, deep nods, and stink-face grimaces. No doubt, if I could describe, in proper terms, how music does what it does, I would be a phenomenally wealthy woman.

So if I were stuck on a desert island, I reckon, more than anything, I’d want companionship. But I’d be alone, except for…animals…birds…parrots, probably—hopefully—as they’re native to every continent except the frozen ones, and are very intelligent. If you don’t think they’re smart, just go to the zoo and observe them…observing you from their perches in the trees…playing hard to get…and judging. Don’t kid yourself—they’re judging you. But with the right juke box, I might entice them to approach my campsite, where I could teach them to say things like, “That’s a lovely blouse,” and “You tell ’em, Jen!”The following selections were chosen with the sole intent of ingratiating myself to avian island companions. They have been tested on my own parrots with wildly successful results. How do I know when my birds “enjoy” a piece of music? When it makes me happy to watch them listening to it.
Mississippi John Hurt, The Library of Congress Recordings

The silveriest guitar and plumiest voice of all the bluesmen. He can be dirty—like in “Funky Butt” (“I thought I heard somebody say/she got a funky butt, stinky butt, take it away”)—but pragmatically so. A bald woman’s still a woman, after all, and worthy of love—not a subject for ridicule. His lust is wry: “Candy man’s stick don’t melt away/It just gets better, so the ladies say.” And “Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me” is sure to have birds from islands around flocking in for an earful.
Read the entire article here.
Jennifer L. Knox’s latest book of poems, The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway, is available from Bloof Books. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review,and four times in The Best American Poetry series. She’s at work on her first novel.

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