Poor House Bistro (open mic) – July 22, 2019

1. Ships That Pass in the Night, by Paul Laurence Dunbar
2. Sympathy, by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Note (December 5, 2021):
Only a few days before, I had begun arranging “Ships That Pass in the Night” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. At first, I could not get past the first couple of lines, and I thought that perhaps I would not complete the arrangement. Only the melody was lodged firmly in my mind, and I could not ignore it. So I continued on, line by line, stanza by stanza until I completed the project. This was an important moment.

Since 2012, I had not really arranged or composed songs. Perhaps I did not feel that I had really progressed as a songwriter since starting in 2006. Perhaps I just lost my focus. But, early in 2019, I set out to make studio recordings of some of my previous arrangements, including Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy.” That project was never completed, but it did stir in me a new interest in composition. I dove into Dunbar’s poetry and began reading biographies about the man. The poem “Ships That Pass…” stirred something in me.

I first visited the Poor House Bistro in 2012, playing once at their open mic. I did not make this my regular haunt, as I was playing at the open mic at The Ugly Mug in Soquel at the time. But I returned to the Poor House sometime in April 2019, playing mostly covers, I think. In July, I made the Poor House my regular haunt, playing there nearly every Monday. For about a year, before the COVID lockdown, I debuted many songs there. And throughout 2020 and into 2021, I have continued to compose and arrange. I look forward to one day playing again.

© 2019 – 2021, Mark R. Adams. All rights reserved.