Music

In Love With a Stranger / Songs for January

This January has been a slow one: after the launch of Half Mystic Journal’s Issue VI: Interlude, I am laying low, frequenting new bookshops & cafés, watching films at home with my family, people-watching at home with my family. Eating when I am hungry. Trying 2019 on for size like a dress, a life.

This month’s mix has a few lovely acoustic renditions of recent popular music (“All Time Low”, “I Don’t Wanna Know”, “Fresh Eyes”), some tender & yearning indie music (“Be My Mistake”, “It Will Come Back”), a couple of oldies (“I’ve Got a Crush On You”, “Venus”, “Gotta Get You Into My Life”), & some lush & soaring pieces from lesser-known artists (“Feel It All”, “Taxi”).

Dear friend, I hope your heart is full this month—of music, of coffee shops, of family, of hope, of the bright fresh newness of 2019. I love you.

Half Mystic Radio, Season I, Episode V: Robin, Raven, Swallow, Dove

Welcome to Episode V of Season I of Half Mystic Radio! I’m thrilled to share that HMR is now available on all of your favourite podcast platforms: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, & Soundcloud. You can subscribe to the podcast for free, & stream all episodes on those platforms now. Please also leave a rating & review if you enjoy Half Mystic’s work, so that we can reach more listeners!

If you prefer to listen in here, Episode V: Robin, Raven, Swallow, Dove is out now—

This episode features Kate Bucca’s poems "Known Quantity" & "August Storm", & Paola Bennet’s song "Antidote".

Kate Bucca holds a dual-genre MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she served as the 2017 Vermont Book Award Fellow, and a BFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She is the author of a novel, Companion Plants (Fomite, 2014), and a poetry collection, Daughter Mountain Water Wife (Half Mystic Press, forthcoming, 2019), which was a finalist for the Hillary Gravendyk Prize and the Autumn House Press Rising Writer Contest. Her short fiction, essays, poetry, and paintings can be found in Welter, Limestone, Timber, The Nervous Breakdown, DigBoston, Half Mystic Journal, and elsewhere.

Paola Bennet's unique brand of "sadgirl folk" evokes the melancholy sweetness of Sara Bareilles and Joni Mitchell, and lush intimations of her native New England, while maintaining a haunting edge and electric grit all its own. After self-producing her first EP in 2013, she worked independently with songwriting legend Scarlet Keys to hone most of the songs on the second, Something to Win (2014). In December 2016, she put out The Shoebox EP, her first studio release and the result of an Indiegogo campaign which raised 30 percent beyond its target goal. She released "Desert Sky", her first single in nearly two years, in July 2018.

If you enjoyed this snippet of light & are looking forward to more episodes of Half Mystic Radio: don’t go yet! Please do share your thoughts on Episode V with us using the hashtag #halfmysticspeaks. Or, you can @ us directly on social media—@wearehalfmystic on all platforms.

Want to get involved? We are now open to submissions from both writers & musicians for inclusion in the podcast! Send us your symphony. We promise we won’t flinch. & if you would like to support Half Mystic financially, the best way to do so is by purchasing one of our books or journal issues, right here.

Thanks to popular demand from listeners, I’m excited to tell you that we are also sharing the full text of the poems in each episode from now on. Here we are…

Known Quantity

Her husband is the crow that raps on the sliding glass door. The onyx, winged creature with vacant eyes who communicates only in distorted Morse code. When she approaches him to ask what he means, he hops back then alights on the nearest branch, just out of her reach. He is a persistent but vacant expression, a tilted head, a raven-brain too intelligent for his body, too unfocused. He is the omen flying over the house, over her head. The bad luck that, once indoors, sets the house to spinning, her to fleeing. Her husband is the broken banister he refuses to fix. The railing supposed to set the stairs straight—bent and splintered. She runs her hands up him hoping to find stability but he wobbles loose every time she approaches the landing. He is the crookedness, the wabi-sabi, the intentional flaw in the perfect pattern. He is the guaranteed mistake. The obvious blemish. The known quantity. His brokenness is a consistency that repeats itself in stairs and floorboards, conversations and embraces. She tries to superglue, to shore up, to replace the crack, but he is the weakened support beam you don’t expect to fail. She can never find the exact spot of schism. Her husband is the grand finale. The fireworks spectacular the neighbors set up lawn chairs to watch. She recognizes the beauty in the destruction and doesn’t dare speak against it. He burns so brightly his heat is forgotten. Only she is close enough to feel him. He is the spark igniting, the bursting flame, the explosion. She is the fuel no one considers when watching the burnout. 

August Storm

An electric fence limns the lives
of young bulls now slaking
thirst at the plastic trough. Under
corrugated metal I wait
out the rain, porch-perched

             as the cut-time drops
            shuffle a rhythm
            for the sparrow hip-hopping

on weightless feet across
the charged wire.
                        To dance like that! Unafraid
of the zap-pulse that contains
the larger beasts.

             A quick flap,
           feathered arm-soar
            and dive,
            chirp and cackle.

Robin. Raven. Swallow. Dove.

The birds beckon, chirping summer-
shower lyrics along the air.

Wrapped in feverish breeze I rustle
onto the lawn to stand
mouth open, arms out,

            baptized with dance
           as a warbler alights on the shoulder
                        of a bull, its weight barely

noticed.