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This is partly a lake story – a small lake named Buck, tucked away in a little nook of the Adirondacks in upstate NY. It was the summer of 2014, and I was visiting a friend whose partner’s family owns a tiny old schoolhouse-turned-family cabin on this sweet lake. There was running water, but no electricity. We stayed only one night, and we spent part of it on a midnight canoe ride out in the light of the full moon -- something I never dreamed I’d do. I decided that the next morning I needed to go out on the water alone with my baritone ukulele to see if I could find a song. So I did. After a tin mugful of schoolhouse-cabin coffee, my uke and I precariously climbed into a child-sized paddleboat that was waiting for us on the lakeshore, and away we childishly paddled. I listened for a long time while floating on the still surface – to the wind, to the water, to the trees and lily pads and all the hidden life that filled the water below me. Soon, the music began weaving itself out of all the silent strands of life around me. Together, as my fingers became channels, we wove a song about fear, trust, hidden worlds and known truths, sadly-missed dreams and the bonds of humanity, and a deep desire to reconnect with my old, earthly muses.
This is the last song I wrote.
the weight of your hand and a lonely surface
using my eyes and my breath to feel around
I cannot see through
the cloudy chaos that fills you up
I float on it
and I always want to be
moving in your heartbeat
yesterday morning, I woke up dreaming
of easier games we could play
to hold onto
dreams of flying
and I could see through
the cloudy chaos
we are our own
killer and healers and holders of memory
and of each other
losing together and fighting together
and gaining a feather
each time we overcome
the weight of your hand is enough to make me
fumble and cry to the moon:
I want you back in my belly
do you remember when we
stopped each other in our tracks?
released November 24, 2020
Ali Ippolito, bari uke and vocals
When the Broken Bow was a Portland-based band fronted by singer/pianist Ali Ippolito. WBB's final form included Ali along with Justin Stimson (bass & vocals), Quentin Whitman (drums) and Evelyn Weston (musical saw).