S. Kunitz 1905 – 2006

Waking up at 4 AM this morning, I fumbled around on my iPhone for podcasts to kill time until dawn. Garrison Keillor’s show came up first.

Keillor always ends with a poem, and on this episode it was Route Six by Stanley Kunitz, that follows the poet’s summer road trip to Cape Cod with his wife.

To get everyone into the spirit of our own quickly approaching day trips to the beach, I match the mood of Kunitz’ poem by quoting it alongside this weekend’s best live music.

The city squats on my back.
I am heart-sore, stiff-necked,
exasperated. That’s why
I slammed the door,
that’s why I tell you now,
in every house of marriage
there’s room for an interpreter.

Two choices to invoke angry, high-pressure NYC this Thursday (4/21): At Union Pool, electronica artist Dan Friel squalls all noize and fuzz, but cuts it with enough melodics to make it less snobby for us regular people.


And you didn’t expect St. Vitus to disappoint tonight for angry music, did you? It’s hosting the Pears, with their mixture of punk and sludge straight from the Louisiana bayou.

Let’s jump into the car, honey,
and head straight for the Cape . . .
We’ll drive non-stop till dawn,
and if I grow sleepy at the wheel,
you’ll keep me awake by singing
in your bravura Chicago style
Ruth Etting’s smoky song,
‘Love Me or Leave Me,’
belting out the choices.

Moving on to romance, you can find it Friday night (4/22) at, not kidding, St. Vitus. Yes the punk and metal club. I guess even tough guys get a little misty sometimes. Its atmospheric, emotional pleas from The Black Atlas and To Sail Beyond the Sun start around 9 pm.

Laura Nyro

As for those passions left
that flare past understanding,
like bundles of dead letters
out of our previous lives
that amaze us with their fevers,
we can stow them in the rear
along with ziggurats of luggage
and Celia, our transcendental cat.

I saved some of Kunitz’ best lines for Laura Nyro, the acclaimed ’60s singer-songwriter from the Bronx who died too young from ovarian cancer, at age 49.

Her enduring influence will be celebrated at National Sawdust on Friday by an all-star cast of stage composers and other theater people.

The show starts at 7:30 pm and you can buy tickets here. And here is a Youtube link to some of her songs, for newcomers and fans alike.

To the end of Kunitz’ Route Six.

My wife. Summer 2014.

Light glazes the eastern sky
Over Buzzards Bay.

The last stretch toward home!
Twenty summers roll by.

I wish for you all: That summer, this year.

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