Thanksgiving transcribed
November 23, 2012

It’s Thanksgiving, though it’s hard to tell here in France. The other American language assistants in my city invited me to their kitchen earlier tonight where we expertly made three pumpkin pies in French tart tins and without standard measuring implements. Tomorrow, we will have a big dinner, during which I will eat my feelings. Those feelings are mainly homesickness and a nice variety of frustrations, stemming from the fact that for six hours a week, I teach extremely unenthusiastic 11th and 12th graders about my culture and my language, my attempts usually being met with blank stares. In a desperate effort to at least get them to laugh at how ridiculous the US can be, I showed them this terrible song about Thanksgiving, written and performed by an adolescent girl with the creative capacity of turkey (I apologize to any turkeys I may have offended by this comparison). I originally transcribed the lyrics to give to my students, and in the name of poetry – in this case, “poetry” of the blandest sort (the pre-made grocery store mashed potatoes of the literary world)  – I’ve decided to share them here. It is perhaps to the internet’s credit that they are not yet the first google hit after a search for “thanksgiving song lyrics.” (You will find them on other sites, though, by searching “it’s thanksgiving lyrics.”)

Listening to this song multiple times left me with many questions as its transcriber, such as whether or not Nicole Westbrook would agree with my punctuation choices, if I included an appropriate number of a’s in that first “yeah,” and mainly, what alternate reality Westbrook inhabited when she decided singing into a turkey drumstick was a good idea. (But in all seriousness, transcribing lyrics genuinely does bring up interesting conundrums regarding punctuation and sentence structure in addition to making me question whether written text is ever truly capable of conveying the style of spoken word.)

Oh whoaaa, yea-aaaaah, alright.
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh, oh oh oh, oh yeah
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh, alright.
Come on.

I’m wide awake, and I should take a step and say
Thank you, thank you,
For the things you’ve done and what you did.
Oooh yeah, oooo ye-ah

December was Christmas.
January was New Year’s.
April was Easter,
And the Fourth of July,
But now it’s Thanksgiving!

Oh oh oh,
It’s Thanksgiving!
We we we, we’re gonna have a good time,
Oh oh oh
It’s Thanksgiving!
We we we are gonna have a good time
With the turkey, (ayy!) mashed potatoes (ayy!)
We we we are gonna have a good time
with the turkey, (ayy!) mashed potatoes (ayy!)
It’s Thanksgiving, it’s Thanksgiving. (alright)

School is out, I can shout,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
No matter how you do, no matter what you say,
This is my favorite.

December was Christmas.
January was New Year’s.
April was Easter,
and the Fourth of July,
but now it’s Thanksgiving.

Oh oh oh, it’s Thanksgiving
We we we, we’re gonna have a good time.
Oh oh oh, it’s Thanksgiving.
We we we are gonna have a good time,
with the turkey (ayy!), mashed potatoes (ayy!).
We we we are gonna have a good time,
with the turkey (ayy!), mashed potatoes (ayy!).
It’s Thanksgiving, it’s Thanksgiving.

Yo, it’s Thanks-giving-giving,
and I’m tryn’a be forgiving.
Nothin’ is forbidden.
She know, we gotta have –
I gotta give thanks to you and you and you.
Can’t be hateful, gotta be grateful.
Gotta be grateful, can’t be hateful.
Mashed potatoes on my–on my table.
I got ribs smelling up my neighbor’s cribs.
Can’t deny, havin’ good times,
We be laughin’ till we cry.
It’s Thanks-Thanks-Thanksgiving.
Come on.
It’s Thanks-Thanks-Thanksgiving.
Give them thanks, y’all!

Oh oh oh, it’s Thanksgiving.
We we we, we’re gonna have a good time.
Oh oh oh, it’s Thanksgiving.
We we we are gonna have a good time
with the turkey (ayy!), mashed potatoes (ayy!).
We we we are gonna have a good time
with the turkey (ayy!), mashed potatoes (ayy!).
It’s Thanksgiving, it’s Thanksgiving.

lyrics
May 22, 2011

I’ve been working on this song for a while, and I think I’ve finally gotten the lyrics out of their awkward phase.  That being said, they read like song lyrics, not like a poem (in my opinion), so keep that in mind.  I would highly suggest just making up your own tune so that you can sing them, actually, and hopefully I’ll make a video in the near future so that I can share the music as well as the lyrics.

Dirt roads

I am a gardener,
my calloused hands are never clean.
My knees are always green with grass stains;
my ways are not fit for your fast lanes,
but come on, come see me.

Why don’t you take a ride in your fast car
and amble on down to the countryside?
I’ll give you seeds for your window box;
come see me, I’ll open up all the locks
for you, just gotta come here, dear, to me.

Hey there, my city dweller,
climb up out of your urban cellar.
I’ll be your sunshine,
and I’ll be your April rains.
I’ll be all of your springtime flowers;
I’ll liven your life for all of your hours
if you would just come see me.

Come on, take a ride in your fast car,
just take your sweet time
cause I’m really not that far
away, today, you’ll see me.

I’ll give you blueberries, apples, and kisses.
I promise this country will grant
all of your wishes.
I’ll be your summer shade,
and I’ll be your backyard creek
if you’d just come see me this week.

I’ll be your sunshine,
and I’ll be your August storms.
I’ll be every one of your summer flowers;
I’ll liven your life for all of your hours
if you would just come see me.

becoming musical…
May 8, 2011

Occasionally, I write poems with music in mind.  This often happens when the poetry is metered and/or rhymed, as most song lyrics are, but as I was writing my last free verse poem, “Enough,” I found that by singing the lines as I worked on it, the poem was easier to write.  And so here is the song that evolved out of my poetry writing.   Enjoy listening!