What is the BrainHeart Beat?

Trish Szymanski is a multi-genre artist whose word includes
Performance, as actor/director, singer, singer/songwriter, musician, performance artist
Installed work, as conceptual innovator
Music, as songwriter, singer, percussionist
Writing, as published and constant writer of nonfiction and fiction, poetry, script, essay.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother Thoughts Today

The burdens put on my mother Anna Greither by society and by the time and place she was born was unreasonable for anyone, perhaps much moreso for a woman thinking she had a right to decide her own life. Her eventual rejection of many of those burdens, and indeed her laying some of them all the way down (or hurling them more like), was destined to be equally unreasonable in some way or ways.

This notion of feminism - for that is what this was - came to her at least in part through her grandmother, my great-grandmother Maria Deininger, who had five children by three men - and no husbands. All of her children bore her own lifelong last name. In a small town in the Black Forest of southwestern Germany in the 19th century, my mother's grandmother was a respected woman. What the fk was that about?

(Through DNA testing I have now learned I do not have any Ashkenazi Jewish genetic heritage. In fact, I am white af. If we have spoken about this, you know what I've resolved here.)

For good or bad, my mother taught me that a woman can choose her life. She can do what ever she wants regardless of who likes it or does not. This is a little complicated for me, of course. But it is still amazing.

I have not always been able to honor my mother as she wanted me to do.  Her behavior toward me was too often too dishonorable. But she has always held a place of honor in my heart and in my mind. And a lot of her is alive in me, to my undying gratitude.

[Photo circa 1947, Germany-French Zone]

Thursday, February 2, 2012

To My Old Master

One of the very best things I have ever read.

Please do read to the end.  And enjoy!

To My Old Master

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On Percussion and Vocals in SEA OF OTTERS!

It's a blast to be performing with these cool cats!  Our first gig was the August 17, 2011 Groove on Grove in downtown Jersey City...check it out!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Head to Head Haiku

I joined this Facebook group:  Head to Head Haiku.  Here is a sample of my contributions.

* * * * *

It would be nice if
One of my extreme ventures
Brought in some income

My income need not be
Extreme to satisfy me
But I shan't complain.

I provide service!
I'm great at what I'm doing!
Where is the love, y'all?!

Poverty was a 
Lesson for me.  I learned my 
Values hold up well.

Peanut butter and
Three-Fruit marmade.  Breakfast
of this champion.

Grapefruit, lemons and
Seville oranges, in the
Dundee tradition.

Oh boy, and no thanks.
Even just a taste of fame
Leaves me way creeped out.

Lyrics pour through me
Like DNA building a
New human being

My heart is open
To what your love might offer
Blind as usual

Cannot hold my breath.
While tempests rage around me,
Inhale, exhale, be.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Of Poetry and Doing

This poem was written for my feature performance at the kickoff event of JC Opens Up the Mic Tour 2011, held at the Warehouse Cafe, Sunday, 31 Jul 11.  The theme of the event was the title of the film screened at this event, called "Committing Poetry in Times of War."  (You can watch this film in its entirety on Hulu.com.)

* * *

Of Poetry and Doing

We’re still doing this
to Power

And there is little
More important
More infective
More inspiring
Than the word
Well turned

Because war
is a hell
That cannot be imagined
And catches fire to
Everything it touches
And makes it legend

I am a child of war
That touched me through
My mother and my father
Both of whom resisted
Telling me much about
The pink elephant that lived with us.

What gives?

* * *


* * *

Write a poem about homeless people
Make it be
To turn into banality

Take it on the road
keep it fresh
in your mind
stand up
walk out
(don’t forget your keys)

Step lively to that place
Where you know these people are
Or, if you don’t remember,
Just go to Journal Square
But make sure it’s before 11pm
Cz that’s when they get locked out
And they have to find a place to hang
for the night
And that’s 365.

What was it that your poem said?
Well, here it is in front of you.
And what, dear one, is it that now
You are going to do?

* * *

There’s poetry to be written
About poverty and fear
And racial inequality
Yes, sisters, it’s still here
(Though if we keep together
Like we’re doing
We’ll go far
To get clear.)

There’s poetry to be written
About the world we want for us
The one that must be new.
What is it, fellow poets,
That we are going to do?

* * *

Write a poem about dis-ease
And why it takes so very long
To put our children’s education
First, before so many wrongs

It’s more important than a bomb
Than drone attacks and weak will
That brings young men, and women now, together
To kill from fear
And for sport
In war-torn lands

We saved them from the plunderers
We’re told they begged us for our help
And plunder now aplenty
And take it for ourselves

* * *

Poetry and peace
More important than
Propping up one hateful, cruel regime
While we attack another
Stealing the cash out of our own pockets
To spend this dirty act
And tell ourselves we’re safer if we give
When we cannot afford to even live

To fund the next war
I’m telling you
Because war is a fucking money maker
And somehow that’s become
The most important thing
To those who TAKE our taxes

* * *

Write a poem about health care
And how it’s not a right
How having no insurance means
You go without good care for years
And when you die
We wonder why
Could medicine not save her?
Of course, it could
It chose instead to lobby for
Drugs and money

Write a poem about
Drugs and money
I dare you.

I dare you to write a poem
About THOSE drugs and money
And make it sweet and
Hard to resist
And name names
And name the
government-pharmaco tryst

And get it out to
10,000 readers
Don’t wait to be published
Cz that will take forever
Decide you will do it

* * *

Write a poem about
The incarceration industry
About millions
MILLIONS of prisoners
And how we need the system to grow
So there are some jobs
Which are reasons to keep it all going.
Oh, right
Drugs and money.

What difference does it make that you are here?
What difference
Do you make?

“Poets are pioneers in language
So, to people who are interested in controlling language,
Poetry can be a threat.” - the man said in the movie.

A threat is only worth its life
If there are teeth behind it
Chew on this:
There are thieves and liars
Running things out there
Who need to be reminded.

And you are not alone, my friend
I am here too
And together we are two
And then there are these other few

And in other places
There are faces
Hearts and minds
That come together
As we have
Connect with them
Establish a tether
Of intention and will
Of word - oh, powerful words!
Of language and of action
Of poetry and doing

Friday, May 27, 2011

Some recent activity...

Let's see:

So, I got new headshots. Beautiful, right?! (Two of them are visible on this page.) I'm referring not so much to the subject matter (although she is impossible to ignore!) as to the photographer, Jessica Siemens. I met Jessica through a friend a couple of years ago and I'm so glad I decided to let her take my new publicity photos. Jessica has been photographing professionally for a long time, so it was surprising to see how organically she works, all up close in natural light. She captures the real you. Take a look at the mini portfolios on her website, and LIKE the Jessica Siemens Photography Facebook page. She's a very cool person and charges very reasonable rates for amazing work. I am so pleased!

Uptown Crew is all over Monticello Avenue these days. I'm hosting our Open Mic every 2nd and 4th Thursday at Moore's Lounge, 189 Monticello Avenue. Moore's has become something of a second home for me, especially since it's practically around the corner from where I live. I'm happy to see that the UC Open Mic has brought new attention and business to this 40+ year community establishment.

Besides Uptown Crew's open mics, Moore's is famous for live jazz. My whole neighborhood, from Journal Square down to Communipaw, West Side Avenue to Monticello, probably has the highest concentration of world-class jazz musicians, and live jazz performances, in all of New Jersey! I'm not kidding -- it's amazing.

So...I'm co-producing a jazz showcase of three live bands at Moore's with two veteran producers and live music professionals: Nick Ciavatta, a highly accomplished singer/songwriter in his own right, an outstanding voice-over artist (you have heard him many times!), and CEO of Friggin Fabulous Productions, and world music expert Neva Wartell, aka DJ Neva, an ethnomusicologist and the brilliant mind behind the Music for the Masses movement. The June 3 show is called JC Originals Jazz, it's part of JC Fridays, and it's going to be amazing!

Inspired by hanging around some super talent singer-songwriters over the past half a year, I've written three new songs in 2011. Nothing on audio/video yet, but come out to one of the Uptown Crew Open Mics and you're likely to hear one of them. I have a new cover too, an old Percy Sledge favorite of mine: At the Dark End of the Street.

I've been cast in a new off-off-Broadway one-act play...Galileo the Musical opens June 8 as part of the Planet Connections Festivity in New York City. This annual theatrical festival focuses on works with an environmental theme. Galileo the Musical jumps from the present, where scientist John Holden attempts to convince Congress that global warming is a real and present danger back to the court of Pope Urban where Galileo attempts to convince the clergy that the earth is not really the center of the universe. Both gentlemen suffer sad rebuke. It's a great play, and I'm super pleased to be involved with such talented people! Being in this production has given me the opportunity I've been looking for: It's made me refocus on my legit singing, what with all the vocal pyrotechnics! Come if you can, and please donate to our fundraising campaign - even $5 makes a difference. Galileo the Musical is a _gaia production.

I'm also working on a spoken word CD. We're in editing mode, and an awesome artist is on board for the artwork. Sorry...can't say too much about it now, but this CD should be available for purchase within the next few months.

Other than that, I'm focused on my domesticity, my heart, and bringing Uptown Crew to the next level - we're working on our 501(c)3 application! Please, LIKE our Facebook page and, if you can, make a donation to support our ongoing activities. We've got a lot in store for the next twelve months, and we need your help -- THE CREW IS YOU!

A life well lived is my wish for us all.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Expectation Fail

(c) 2011
by Trish Szymanski

And it is too familiar
this disappointing
hard wishing

i've dusted myself off again
and understand too clearly that it
has to go this way

so maybe this is what this has been for
for me to practice knowing
what i don't want

but still
because i love
i want so much for you

if only
i were the one
inside of you
doing the wanting