I must give great thanks to Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and Anna Vogelzang for the lyric help today. In talking with Lady Lamb some weeks ago about writing lyrics, and she sent 5 words over text for me to put into a song. These 5 words were:






I got a text from Anna Vogelzang today that somehow ended up in me talking about her beautiful bird tattoos (which can be found on the underside of her forearm). Long story short (and after a short discussion about fish oil and its positive properties), Anna suggested that I include the words:

bird tattoo

fish oil (I failed! I just couldn’t find place for it. FAIL!)

Writing: I LOVE YOU You make my life so much more interesting and knowledge filled. When Lady Lamb first sent me her words some weeks ago now, I spent a while researching them on the online etymology dictionary website. I found such incredibly interesting things!

Apricot linked me to the word Aubergine – fruit of the eggplant (ironically, my friend Emilyn Brodsky is linked to the word Aubergine almost intimately… she is also included in this song in another way: Emilyn recently gave me a vintage blue hat which I love. It is the blue hat referenced in the second line.)

June sent me to The Black Hole of Calcutta. What a horribly sad and terrifying story. “Black Hole of Calcutta, incident of June 19, 1756, in which 146 British POWs taken by the Nawab of Bengal after the capture of Ft. William, Calcutta, were held overnight in punishment cell of the barracks (meant to hold 4 people) and all but 23 perished.”

Oddly, June 19th is my birthday, which had me addressing “Emmy” in the song, a name my family called me when I was very, very little. My idea for the narrating was a man struggling to survive, wanting more to give in to his circumstance whilst in The Black Hole, speaking to “Emmy” a presence who is very far from him and in a totally different world than where he finds himself.

Swoon is “in a faint, to choke, to sigh”… then wheat and remember came by themselves.

Recording: The vocals and cello were done at the same time. This is the first full take, and, in the interest of time, I didn’t do it again. I was thoughtful about the instrumental: should it be simple and only reflect the melody line? Should it be more free and improvised or feel more mapped out? I did a few improvisations trying these different ideas and ended up with this one.

It was difficult to fit all the required words in, but I did all but one. Near triumph! And thanks to Anna’s birds, I had a jumping off point. Have a wonderful, wonderful day…

Black Hole of Calcutta

Where is your bird tattoo?
Send me your blue hat
Lest I forget so well
Upon this day you died

I’m at a loss for words
Stole them right off my tongue
Now it is June, Emmy, now it is June

Stuck in the Black Hole of Calcutta
Not sure I’ll make it out
The man to the right, he swoons
It’s all that I have just to remember
The fields of a labor lost, its wheat, and your apricot dress

Oh, Emmy, I’m done
Oh, Emmy, I’m done
I’m gonna let go this silver gun, this happy, silver gun

Oh my home, oh my Aubergine,
When will we see the sun as it is
I will or I won’t, there is no bargain
Tobacco and smoke is all I know

Oh, Emmy, I’m done
Oh, Emmy, I’m done
Oh, Emmy, I’m done
I’m gonna let go this happy, silver gun