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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Spoken Word: Sal Cataldi/ Mark Muro: Vapor Vespers Debut with One Act Sonix (CD release) 2020


this is the place of camels and canoes

where the seeds of be-bop

are traded for a missionary’s head
and strings of killer bees are smuggled like gems

here the sun’s bent breath
bruises the earth
and sears my lips
making a dark meal of milk-fed smiles

here a mummy bleeds dust
and mumbles something sulfuric
turning a flock of crow to smoke

here grass eats meat 
and dogs become sand
chewing the last mouthful of hope
from a human ditch

here the rippling horizon muffles a boom
and a buzzard sharpens his beak on a bone

here a bush doctor
playing godfather to madness and mud
spits termites into a tourist trap
giving directions to comatose pilgrims
selling poison postcards 
and genuine dung figurines

here tiny fish glitter on the wind
and credit cards are used 
to scrape the hair off jackals   

here the air fills with thorns 
and a caravan of gnats head for the coast

here I am smoking a rope
packed up high on a camel’s hump
with coffee beans, cassettes and myrrh
and a guide book to malaria

and here the sky crumbles
jamming the projector 
halfway up river
a white square of sail
hanging on the dark 
slide of memory

@2019 Lyrics Mark Muro, Vapor Vespers, Gravi-N-Bizqit Music/ASCAP

Listen to Timbuktu – Explorers go upstream

the bells

she phoned the doctor

wiped up the mess

and waited

the cheerful birdcage remained silent

in the kitchen the light was brighter
where he once stood singing 
his little songs of pain

if only it hadn’t rained

just yesterday
the view seemed clear
and blue as the pools of Babylon

everything was set
the accordion was paid for
the roofers finally finished
and there was still enough 
frosting left to decorate 
a second cake

even the people in the next apartment
took a break and stopped 
screaming at each other 

as if the Fourth of July would never come 

she watched from the window

the men got out of the truck
they were young and strong and handsome

just as she hoped

the end of the day 
was beginning to unfurl  
into a pair of immense yellow wings

she felt a breeze skit across her face

soon everything 
will take off and disappear 
behind the clouds

soon the bells will ring
@2019 Lyrics Mark Muro, Vapor Vespers, Gravi-N-Bizqit Music/ASCAP

Listen to The Bells – a dead bird, neighbors arguing.

ode to a friend
(The Meatclever and the Butterfly)

My penis is a wondrous thing
high shouldered like a fine Bordeaux
and smooth as an Aztec’s obsidian kiss.

My penis is a lighthouse
on the rocky shores of uncertainty
a crimson pirate probing the shoals of indecision
a Jolly Roger stuck in a bog
a Flying Dutchman dissolving in the indifferent Sargasso Sea.

My penis is an amazing creature
with little birdie wings
a golden crested head
streamlined with dorsal fins
independent suspension
and driver’s side air bags.

My penis is noble as Lancelot
sterling as Camelot
wise as Solomon
strong as Goliath
cunning as King David
and about as reliable as Lou Costello.

My penis is indomitable
long range and invincible
a magnificent traveler
as intrepid as Magellan
reading magazines between connecting flights.

My penis, a cherries jubilee
a proud Napoleon
a humble Twinkie
just another filigree confection
on the boundless buffet of Bacchus.

My penis is a religion
a minaret calling the faithful to prayer
the wreck of a ruined cathedral
after the battle smoke clears.
My penis stands for something
that has come and gone
the living will of a bygone age
a legacy proclaimed
the plow that broke the plains
and sewed a blizzard of seedlings
flooding the prairie basins
with legion upon legion of me.

My penis is carved from diamond willow
hard yet workable
resilient yet pliable
a good sturdy stick.

My penis walks to work
and packs a hearty lunch
like a common man.

My penis is much like the Hindenberg-
impressive when inflated
but glorious in flames.

My penis is electric like an eel
magnetic like a pole
atomic like a submarine
hydraulic like a fountain
and pneumatic like a drill.

My penis is also a vegetable.

My penis craves approval
and needs the nod
from a thousand lovely lovelies
or the short stroke
from a miserable few …
I don’t care.

My penis is a credit card
accepted at a billion locations world wide-
if only I can pay the bill.

Ah, but my penis is an incorrigible boy
firing his pistol and jumping for joy.

My penis can be cavalier
a cocky rustic dandy
at a bustling country fair.

But my penis has grown weary
with many promises to keep
and so many miles to go
before he gets to sleep.

And yet to sing of us now
to such degree
might confuse hubris
with apology
but as time takes its toll
and follows nature’s decree
I must ask just once more…
would you like to come closer-

-and touch it please?

@2019 Lyrics Mark Muro, Vapor Vespers, Gravi-N-Bizqit Music/ASCAP

Un-PC jaunty hilarious ode to gents member with drum and bass backing, The Meatcleaver and the Butterfly (My Penis). Listen to the performance poem here:

Vapor Vespers Debut with One Act Sonix

New York Multi-Instrumentalist Sal Cataldi (aka Spaghetti Eastern Music) 
Partners with Alaskan Playwright/Poet Mark Muro for 
a Triptastic Slam of Storytelling and Genre-Skipping Sounds

New York/Anchorage, January 7, 2020 – It’s a sonic funhouse that draws upon everything from Fripp & Eno ambience and Krautrock space explorations to 70s Miles Davis funk-jazz-noise bromides, acoustic folk and baroque classicalism, all to season a world of surreal spoken word ruminations. These narratives explore scenes that are as varied as their musical backings – dramas, large and small, that take on “big think” spiritualism, romance, lust, obsession, death and the petty splendors of daily existence – with recitations that are part Eric Bogosian hyper-monologue, Bukowski/Henry Rollins poetry slam and, occasionally, a little un-PC Rudy Ray Moore party record bawdy.  

Welcome to the world of Vapor Vespers, an edge- and button-pushing transcontinental collaboration between acclaimed NYC & Hudson Valley-based multi-instrumentalist Sal Cataldi (aka Spaghetti Eastern Music) and Alaskan playwright, actor and slam poet Mark Muro.     

Drawing inspiration from music-powered spoken word icons like John Cooper ClarkeThe Last PoetsLord BuckleyJoe Frank,Henry Rollins and beat god Jack Kerouac, and the O.G. of monologues, Ruth Draper, the Vapor Vespers are unwrapping their ambient, industrial, funk, fuzz and jazz noise-flavored brew with One Act Sonix, a 13-track collection now available for digital download, streaming and in CD via CD Baby, Spotify and other services (Bad Egg Records, 4005).  

Cataldi and Muro’s partnership goes back to when they met in their teens in Queens, New York.  Here, in the heart of blue-collar New York City, they formed a lifetime friendship and creative bond over a steady diet of Carvel Flying Saucers ice cream sandwiches, Sundew Jungle Juice, Sun Ra, Henry Miller, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa and the original spoken word recordings of the 50s and 60s from Caedmon Records.

A longtime denizen of the New York City and now Hudson Valley/Woodstock music scenes, guitarist/keyboardist Cataldi is most recently known for his solo project, Spaghetti Eastern Music. Here Cataldi fuses Eastern beats, Spaghetti Western film soundtrack ambience, Krautrock spaciness and psychedelic and fuck/fusion flavoured electric guitar instrumentals with gentle acoustic vocal song craft, straight  out of the John Martyn/Nick Drake songbook. Time Out New York writes: “Cataldi’s largely instrumental, Eastern-influenced jams are infused with some delicate guitar work and hauntingly moody atmosphere,” while The New York Timesproclaims he has “a beat unmistakably his own.” Called “truly excellent” by The Village Voice, “a jazz virtuoso without the need to prove it” by Aquarian Weekly, “beautiful and unique” by WFUV’s Mixed Bag, “wonderfully melodic and off-center” by WFMU and “part Sergio Leone fever dream, part Ravi Shankar raga, a whirling dervish of musical creation” by Hudson Valley One, Cataldi keeps up a steady schedule of performances at leading venues in the Big Apple and the Hudson Valley.

Bronx-born Mark Muro has been a cultural force in Anchorage, Alaska since relocating in the mid-1980s. His short stories and poetry have been published in anthologies including North of Eden and The Anchorage Daily News and he has produced and performed in a series of one-man shows including The Bipolar Express, Indistinct Chatter and Not Marketable at theaters including Cyrano’s and Out North, and also at the annual Alaska One-Minute Play Festival.  Muro has acted in numerous independent films and commercials, performed standup comedy, represented the state of Alaska in The National Poetry Slam. He also served as host of the PBS radio show, Stage Talk.  His newest one-man show, Bug Boy: Curse of the Ant Queen, premiered in November 2019 at Anchorage’s Cyrano’s Theater.

Recommended listening…

  • Timbuktu – Over Cataldi’s atmospheric soundscape of percolating synths, chunky Pagan drums, distant bells, gnat-like buzzes and bebop guitars, Muro sets a scene of early explorers on a long hot trek across the desert in Mali;
  • Bottomless Seafood Surprise – A trip-phonic, industrial-seasoned monologue about a woman preparing some fresh seafood, and herself (stripped down to an apron with a giddy-up horse illustration) for what she hopes will be a romantic dinner-at-home.  Will they, won’t they? Will the fish that talks to her from the sizzling frying pan have any clues?  Listen and learn…
  • In the Lap of the Drooling Buddha – Double-dipped wah wah funk of 70s Miles “Agarta” vintage propels a self-examination into the disconnections of virtual desires as a mechanism of social control, the eternal battle between the spiritual, the sexual and the material;
  • The Bells – Funerial atmospheric jazz, a lamentation over a dead pet bird, unrequited lust for hunky workmen and another famous cake left out in the rain;
  • Her Lemon Peel Raincoat (Because It’s Raining) – A 7th inning stretch solo instrumental from Cataldi in his Spaghetti Western style, 7+ minutes of ambient, orchestral nature sounds, with a hallucinatory bed of slippery eBow guitar Frippery, and Django-like acoustics and children on the loose in a summer storm;
  • Birthday and Bubble Squared – Solo spotlights for Muro.  The first a swinging and surprising riff on the dead over a Krupa beat; the latter, a nod to the Velvet Underground’s “The Gift,” two out of sync recitations of the same poem about life of the party circuit;
  • Headrest – The dreamy album closer, string quartets and otherworldly electronica, with cameos by the Dalai Lama, Pablo Picasso, Richard Nixon, Pol Pot, Rin Tin Tin and Lee Harvey Oswald getting drunk with Marilyn Monroe;
  • The Meatcleaver and the Butterfly (My Penis) – Following in the hilariously boastful tradition of rapper Mickey Avalon’s 2006 “My D**k,” this is an award-winning slam poetry favorite of Muro’s from the un-PC, pre-Me Too ‘90s.  It’s a haughty, tongue-in-cheek ode to the philosophical vicissitudes of a fellow’s sometimes grandiose, sometimes flagging image of his manhood, Shakespearean soliloquy over a funk & noise groove;
  • Maisey Hot and Humid -- The flip side/equal bawdy time for women, a swanky wah wah porno soundtrack to a three-part rant of femme fantasies by a sensuous Russian pal, Siberian Sadie.

One Act Sonix was recorded and engineered by Sal Cataldi about the studio aboard his houseboat in Port Washington, Long Island, Houseboat Garlic Knot Studios, and Sonic Garden Studios in West Saugerties, New York (1/4 mile from the legendary Big Pink house made famous by The Band).  All tracks were mastered, and several remixed, by Grammy-winning engineer Bob Stander at Parcheesi Studios. 

Media Contact:; tel/text 516.236.3817

Sal Cataldi
Cataldi Public Relations, Inc
The Marina at Tom’s Point
1 Sagamore Hill Drive, 5B
Port Washington, NY 11050
Text/Cell – 516.236.3817
“Better Living Through Publicity”

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