Posted by: Juliann Budimir | April 20, 2017

Inspiration for my dear friend

She shines with the warmth of an afternoon in spring
Brings joy to life in great and little things
A college welcome was one we shared
As we, one weekend years ago, prepared
For adulthood unfurled before our eyes
My dear friend, I met her then, and soon I recognized
Her joy, her laugh, her intelligence and truth
Would last her far beyond collegiate songs
Our friendship would transcend our youth.

We have traveled far, she more than I, across the many years
But across the tapestry of time
Beyond geographies and climes
We retain glimmers of those smiles
Flashing memories of notes in class
And wines by the glass
So much to buoy away the tears.

To you, my dear friend!   
I want to sing so much more than a song in prose
To rally the promise of health renewed
Of joy returned to where it most belongs
My dear friend, I knew you then
I know you now
I know just how you will fight
Will muster every ounce of strength
Will go to every length
To sing again.

I know that when you run again, live again
In life unfurled by its wings
You will fly again
And I pray that the kaleidoscopic color
Of your soul will leap in fortnight’s form
That healing will marry your beauty without and within
That before too long, we will laugh across time and tears
Savor the friendship of our years
And cultivate the blessings of our lives.

Juliann Budimir
April 14, 2017

Juliann Budimir, 2017.  All rights reserved.

DSCN2723

Posted by: Juliann Budimir | April 17, 2017

For LC – April 17, 2017

 

I touch your lips in a forest of broken trees
Your honesty brings me to my knees
Can we outrun the storm
With words outworn?
We gather in solace as we please.

 

Juliann Budimir,
April 17, 2017

Juliann Budimir, 2017.  All rights reserved.

LC winter trees

Posted by: Juliann Budimir | January 27, 2017

Parted Pair

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I saw his smile through the trees
From the quiet of my room
Spread wide in the winter afternoon
The glint in his eye brought me to my knees

He didn’t know it on that day
The inspiration I would find
Amidst the corners of my mind
In the forest where he played

We shared syncopated starlight
In a zenith from afar
Wishing on a different star
In a divergent night

I long for shared solitude
That knows no bounds
Knows the richness of our sounds
More than an interlude

 

Juliann Budimir
January, 2017

 

Juliann Budimir, 2017.  All rights reserved.

Posted by: Juliann Budimir | January 18, 2017

Fifty Red and Blue

We dreamed in fifty red and blue, and we were blue
Our goals were high but harder than we knew
To achieve from the harsh office glare,
To convince all the red that for us she was there.
When hot summer days turned to cool autumn nights,
We figured supporters would make things alright.
Together, we would continue the hope
Of a President and a place called Hope.

We dreamed in fiftyfold and 300 million strong
We had waited so long – What could possibly go wrong?
After forty-four men, it would now be our turn
A woman in the White House, one to discern
The endless, complex, and complicated pain
Of a world with a dissonant refrain
We would embrace the triumph of a sane victory
We would shun the oppression of autocracy

From Wellesley and Yale her gifts were innate
With a career that led to Secretary of State.
She triumphed for women and children, her cause
With or without fanfare and applause.
No matter the fate that her campaign received
She inspired us always to fiercely achieve
In the face of our unbearable ache
She rallied us all to never forsake
The eternal flame of our democratic ideals
We knew in our souls was undeniably real

The road to victory was our walk down the aisle
The first time in history we would represent the smile
Spreading out from east to west rising with the sun
We thought our work was done
As we settled into joy, every single resident,
At the thought of Madame President.

She danced there before on Inauguration night
Half of the pair that would set the nation right
But now was her time to take up the oath
Many were glad to be having them both
The ceiling had spoken, we broke through the cracks
Her legacy achieved since that dance to Fleetwood Mac.
Her vows and Bible ready for that January day
She shared our dreams of a historic Inauguration Day
With fifty states emblazoned on her dress
To represent the cares she would address

But the hope that spread out from her view of the Mall
Was blocked by the madman who wanted the wall
And Lincoln’s calm gaze, so steadfast and true
Stared back at the man who preferred his own view
Aloft from the tower he gilded with gold
That looked down on the people he discarded like mold

Our country, our people, our lives were at stake!
With a man who had said our election was fake
Assuming his place as the world’s greatest power
We longed for him to return to his tower
And for the Electoral College to cast
Their votes that reflected the popular task
Of installing a woman so keenly aware
Of the hacks and intent of a sick Russian bear

Our spirits were bludgeoned; we were torn apart
We all longed to mend the tear in our hearts.
Together we tried, tried, to dream in fiftyfold
And 300 million strong; the truth needs to be told.
We say to a man unfit to be POTUS
The most we will do is to call you our FAUXTUS

We will expose your incompetence, your prejudices, and your lies
Not accept the swath of your pen and all it belies.
With your harsh signature you threaten so much
We will not disappear under your frightening touch.
We will call from all fifty, from the red and the blue
To note the avarice, the pride and illegal things you do.

For it is never too late for dreamers who dare
To take back their country for those who will share
The ethics and righteous resolve to conspire
To uphold the United States before it expires!

Juliann Budimir, 2017.  All rights reserved.

2005-lincoln-memorial-wwii-memorial-j-budimir

Posted by: Juliann Budimir | January 10, 2017

Merci, LC

The sound of words echoing on a page
Have I reached my Golden Age?
Reverberations of an unfinished truth
Fill me like a whispering youth
I am refreshed by the thought of your flesh
The poetry of your desire
The songs it inspires
Like lost memories
Dazzling vagrancies
Inspired by a man I never knew.

Yet, in your Hallelujah, I felt I knew you
Filling my mind with music and rhyme
It took your death to rediscover my poetry
Your fire sets me free.

Juliann Budimir, 2017.  All rights reserved.

Leonard Cohen in Hydra, 1971.  Photo by E & H Manners.

leonard-gaze-e-h-manners-hydra-1971

Posted by: Juliann Budimir | January 9, 2017

The Expanse

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A mystic in your eyes it seems
A tower rises in my dreams
How do we traverse the sea of meaning,
Of knowing how to please?

 

The way is coarse and stretched out wide
Without your inspiration to provide
The smiles of a pleasure path
Or its effervescent aftermath.
Days made heavy by the truth
Seek to find our long lost youth.

 

I see the salt white upon the plain
I feel the lost detritus of your pain
Are the memories that form in my mind
The only things, remains I’ll find?

 

The carnal carnage of our days
Left scattered by our crazy play
Sings songs unsung until the end.
When did love portend
The vacancy of loneliness
Filled by his holiness?

 

Never did we say it would be better that way
Only rhymes breathe life to dreams at night
But then the words stopped and so did the game
What tenderness we shared was lost on the plain
Cast off by the sun, never to be seen again.

 

Juliann Budimir,
January 2, 2017

 

 

Juliann Budimir, 2017.  All rights reserved.

Posted by: Juliann Budimir | December 30, 2016

Dandelion Flame

The flower full of splendid years
Is living proof our soul reveres.
Burnished by the sun,
The petals fall one by one
At year’s passing they reply,
“Will you make a wish, or shall I?”

 

The light is bright, not much akin
To brooding, quivering Theremins.
It burns orange, yellow in the night
Our ever flickering candlelight.
When words congeal and mind repairs
The weary world our soul compares

 

It never hears you call my name
Or sees you light my dandelion flame.
Till then my heart stands steadfast by
As my wish blows candle bye.

 

Juliann Budimir,
December, 2016

 

Juliann Budimir, 2016.  All rights reserved.

Posted by: Juliann Budimir | December 27, 2016

malibu-beach

The expanse of lyrics scattered in the mind

Inspired by the wind are lucky if they find

Iambic pentameter, a couplet or a rhyme

A romantic lilt, some wit; regardless, they are mine.

        –  Juliann Budimir

 

Juliann Budimir, 2016.  All rights reserved.

Posted by: Juliann Budimir | January 27, 2011

Royal Flush

It’s been almost a year since my date with Frank Sinatra.  He has dazzled me with every luscious note, every wicked innuendo, that when the night finally came, I was breathless for more.  All day, my body was aquiver with anticipation.  After so many years, this was a momentous occasion.  It was a comfortably crisp California night, and my glamorous white faux fur was the perfect counterpoint to my black mini skirt and matching lace top. 

He chose the lobby bar of a boutique hotel for our rendez-vous, and I soon learned why.  It was empty save for the lady bartender who knew better than to intrude.  There was a hush to the surroundings and a quiet luxury that was accentuated by the black velvet patterned wallpaper that enveloped the intimate room.  It hinted at rococo and offset the white painted wood of the mid-century Chinoiserie.  There hung the scent of absinthe and perfume, like the gilded jewelry box of a nineteenth century courtesan.  With its vintage, yet timeless charm, it could have been anywhere in the world, but on this particular evening, there was no place where I would rather have been. 

He stood when he saw me, and under his gaze, the quivering anticipation of the day became a sudden warmth that crept up my back and bloomed, full-flush, in my cheeks.  He was a devastating man, and if only for an evening, he was mine.

Did you say I’ve got a lot to learn?
Well don’t think I’m trying not to learn
Since this is the perfect spot to learn
Teach me tonight

He was naturally tan and he wore it well, like Rossano Brazzi in his prime.  His personal style was impeccable and meticulous without being dated or overdone.  He was part Hollywood director, part heartthrob, and part California dandy.  Though he scarcely worked a day in his life, he had the air of a man who had assumed great influence and wielded the bearing of his name.  The jeans and the blazer balanced the ensemble, and there was just the right amount of grey in his casually coiffed hair.  The French cuffs of his crisp, peach shirt were adorned with cufflinks that I could only imagine depicted his fraternity, and above the open collar, a tuft of dark hair was just peeking through.  I was hot like a molten soufflé and quickly removed my jacket.  I might have been perched in the small armchair opposite him, but I felt like I was floating over the cocktail table towards him, like a lover in a Chagall painting.  Would he join me?  His eyes suggested as much.  While this may not have been Francis Albert Sinatra, this was as close to a date with Frank as I’d ever have, and under the spell of my racing heart, I knew it to be true.

Given his half-downed glass, it was clear that he had already settled in before I arrived, and I liked to think that he got there early in anticipation of seeing me.  The decadent décor was tailor made for such a man, especially when he was expecting to pour on the charm.  It was frustrating how well he did it, too.  I was drawn in by this captivating figure even faster than I had expected.

How do you pinpoint when it began, that luscious love affair, that timeless fascination?  He was king of a thousand hearts, and mine was one of them.  I have been hanging on Frank’s every note for many years, dreaming away at his overwhelming artistry, his pungent punch lines and daring innuendo.  The way he bends a note makes me swoon, and before I fall with a descending phrase, he picks me up again with that biting charm and hurls me skyward where we’ll play among the stars.  If a look, if a gaze could be as strong, if a smile could be as devastating, it was staring me down from across the cocktail table.  Of course it wasn’t the Chairman of the Board himself, but the way I felt, it might as well have been.  

In fine wheels we flew to a nearby restaurant and ordered without looking at the menu.  Rather, he ordered for us with aplomb, chumming up the waiters who seemed to know him well.  How numerous were the dates who had sat in the same seat on other winter evenings?  How many toasts and coos and smiles had there been across the tablecloth, across the years?  Was I a comma or an exclamation point?  There were so many questions; I didn’t dare ask a single one.  He was a complicated cat, a dashing man and likely a handful.  Just like Frank, he had an edge, and he wasn’t afraid to use it.

The streets were nearly silent when we left the restaurant and dipped into the cool, night air arm-in-arm.  We turned off of Wilshire onto a side street, and there, in the heart of Beverly Hills, my Frank took me in his arms and made me remember it.  

Starting with the ABC of it
Getting right down to the XYZ of it
Help me solve the mystery of it
Teach me tonight

I closed the door behind him, and heard Frank singing in the other room.  Graduation’s almost here my love, you’d better teach me tonight.  From torch song to ballade to swingin’ with Basie, Frank would always be with me.  I could feel a mile high in a minute, could see a second sunset in a day, could turn Perrier into pink champagne in under a tune.  With Sinatra, an evening knew no end, and there was starlight at dawn.  With Frank Sinatra, I could forever live that ring-a-ding-ding, that je ne sais quoi.

Juliann Budimir, 2011.  All rights reserved.

“Teach Me Tonight” (Sammy Cahn/Gene DePaul)
“Fly Me to the Moon” (Bart Howard)

Posted by: Juliann Budimir | December 30, 2010

Presence (Variations)

I

A plaintive, steady cry and counterpointe to my
Quiet contemplation hummed a bittersweet lullaby.
Surreal was the sound of my finger round the rim
A shrill alarm but dim, the pealing bell of memory.

The lilting music box bid me comply
Leading me astray to times gone by.

A fern the size of children’s fingers
Pressed upon a windowpane
Hung, as if suspended,
Illuminated by the light
It was a momentous night.

This California edelweiss was ours alone,
A verdant view of childhood far from home.
I saw the leafy edges and the central spine,
Magnified by dewdrops as it lay supine.

The wine had hardly any legs
As I tipped the glass from side to side.
A cup half full is a cup half empty
It is still half a glass whether white or ruby.

I sing a note that glass will never break,
Dreaming of the time when we partake.
In shared companionship we do astound,
When caring souls awakened know no bounds.

The lilting music box bid me comply
Leading me astray to times gone by.

Memories of a summer’s peach
Of small, Italian towns (and looks just out of reach)
I taste the taste of seasons not yet sent
Of half-filled dreams and hope no more implied
Than wanderlust beseeches hopes belied.

I blinked, and you were gone
Where did you go?
What did you see?
Will you bring it back to me?

Reaching back across the grey horizons,
Across the faint folds of memories, he replied,
“Childhood,” with sad regret, and then he sighed.

The lilting leitmotif played my refrain
A reverie I seem to hold in vain. 

That Fate may fill with joy the glass pour moi,
With that endlessly elusive je ne sais quoi.

II

The lush notes wafting from the radio as I drove offered the first respite from my day; the familiar, romantic tones a soothing balm for the soul.  I was almost certain it was Brahms.  The delicate woodwinds and rich strings of the andante that built with cinematic strength were delightfully evocative.  Then, once the poco allegretto began, it confirmed to me that it was Brahms’ Symphony No. 3.  Hearing this ravishing music on the heels of a certain correspondence reaffirmed my inner strength and resolve to persevere. 

Less than an hour later, I was greeted by my beloved Mom with a special treat that she said would make me smile.  She opened up the refrigerator drawer and handed me a bottle.  With great anticipation, I lifted it out of the slim, brown bag, and smiled brightly at the sight of Schramsberg.  I could feel the lightness begin to return, to twinkle on the horizon like the effervescent glow of sunset.  Soon we would be enjoying this magnificent champagne with dear friends.

Driving home, I chanced upon a glorious harp concerto that I had never heard before.  What an inspirational discovery!  With sweeping strings and the intimacy of the soloist, I found myself guessing who might have composed such a complex and fascinating work.  The delicate and intoxicating notes were all the more luminous to me given that my mother shines on the harp.  Reinhold Glière’s Harp Concerto found its way into my heart amidst the city lights and the long, complicated and sometimes fascinating journey home.  With a grateful sigh, I smiled at the warmth I felt emanate from within, that je ne sais quoi.

Juliann Budimir, 2010.  All rights reserved.

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