Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1 / B-Sides

On “She Has a Girlfriend Now” by Reel Big Fish by Alyssa Nunez

When I was five years old I learned of the ska band Reel Big Fish from my father. When I was eight years old I learned of the literary tactic known as “foreshadowing” from my elementary school teacher, Mrs. Cho. Recently, I have come to learn that sometimes life’s surprises are truly pre-destined, and my first favorite song is a huge reflection of that fact.

The year was 1999. I was five, my older sister, Jessica, was seven, and my parents were somewhere in their mid-twenties. Against their best judgment, my mom and dad took Jessica and I to a ska festival in Long Beach. With my legs wrapped around my dad’s neck, his hands wrapped around my chubby ankles, and a fresh layer of sunblock applied to my sweaty cheeks, my bald head bobbed in the wind as my small, girlish voice tried to sing along to the music. A few songs passed, and then something more monumental than experiencing a ska show at five happened: I heard the lyrics.

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Kevin Recommends: “Mele Kalikimaka” by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters

                                         ringadingding and etc.

As was foretold, winter has come. It’s now December, and if you, like me, live in the northern hemisphere, temperatures are falling and winter’s dread chill has come creeping into your bones. That goes double if you, like me, live in the frozen sub-arctic wilds of Canada. It gets so god damned cold that you begin to feel that warmth is but a distant memory, and you ache for escape to balmier climes.

I can’t help you with actually warming up your body, because I have firm rules about boundaries and personal space, but Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters can do a fine job of warming your spirits with an audio-breeze of tropical, old-timey camp.


(Song recommendation by Kevin D. Woodall)

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1 / B-Sides

External Influence by Glen Binger

One time in high school my brother made his own Fugazi t-shirt, and I always thought it came out pretty rad. We were mere padawans of punk rock back then, unaware of life’s true purposelessness.

I remember him spray-painting it on top of a bench in our backyard. I also remember my dad beating his ass purple that following weekend for getting black and white on his brand-new patio furnishing.

He whooped mine too once. Years prior, when I had to break a window to get in after school. I forgot my key at home because I was too excited to bring in and show off my first CD. I’d be the coolest kid in 7th grade with Smash Mouth’s Astro Lounge. “All Star” made me feel good about myself and I liked that. I wanted to share it with everyone.

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Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1 / B-Sides

Papa Don’t Preach by Vicki Wilson

Madonna was keeping her baby. I knew this, because it was a Sunday afternoon in 1986 and I had typed out, one-fingered, the entire lyrics to “Papa Don’t Preach” on an old gray IBM (or was it a Compaq?) computer, then printed them on the continuous-feed printer paper. So there it was in front of me: I’m gonna keep my baby. Mmm. O-oh. I was 12.

I had recorded “Papa Don’t Preach” from the radio. Played the tape on my Walkman. Play it. Stop. Type the lyrics. Rewind. Play. Stop. Type the lyrics. It took a while to transcribe. A few times, my mother looked over my shoulder. I didn’t see her face.

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Emili Recommends: “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole

Growing up, Christmas truly was the happiest time of the year. I still love the holiday, but working part-time in a hotel restaurant while I finish my credential means Christmas is not my own anymore. While I may not have the same childlike glee and anxiousness as December 25th approaches as I once did, Christmas and its soundtrack never fail to bring back warm memories and a nostalgia that is impossible not to indulge; Christmas decorations go up promptly Thanksgiving night.

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Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1 / B-Sides

I Can’t Believe You Exist by Patrick Williams

Up late cleaning the house with Overkill
by Motörhead playing too loud. Shut up
are the first two words on side two. Folks are
coming in on Friday, folks are leaving
on Sunday. What little food’s in the house
I just cut up for tomorrow’s lunchbox.
The dull cold-brew ritual, some cookies
cooling on the counter. The vacuum and
the sheets. I always knew the only way
was never live beyond today. Monday.

About the Author:

Patrick Williams is a poet and academic librarian living in Central New York. His recent work appears or is forthcoming in publications including The Bennington Review, Public Pool, Sea Foam Magazine, and Posit. His chapbook Hygiene in Reading (Publishing Genius, 2016) was awarded the 2015 Chris Toll Memorial Prize. He edits Really System, a journal of poetry and extensible poetics and is the hands behind Find him at and on Twitter @activitystory.

Memoir Mixtape Vol.1 / B-Sides

Crazy Horses by Barbara A. Meier

Because I never know the Osmonds sang  hard rock and  “Riders in the Storm” grew out of Ghostriders In the Sky

White tails upon the water,  manes of frothy sea foam,
curling up to bed upon the shore
Dirty dreams of crazy horses  skirting  southward
Hooves ripping wrenching  sandgates
in a receding flow, the water winded
on the rocky shoal

Crazy horses, crashing waves
Galloping onward till the break of a day,
carrying silver saddlebags
on a metallic pathway to the sun,
finds the body hefted shore ways
and becomes the rider in the passing

About the Author:

Barbara A Meier is really just a farm girl from Kansas who now looks at Pacific waves instead of waves of grain. She teaches Kindergarten in Gold Beach, Or. She has been published in Metonym, Birds-Highland Park Poetry, Nature Writing, Poetry Pacific, The Poeming Pigeon, and Cacti Fur. Click here to visit Barbara at her blog.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1 / B-Sides

Led Zeppelin I-IV by Richard King Perkins II

In high school,
it was all post punk and new wave—

only the potheads listened to zeppelin
so I shunned that music completely

and it wasn’t until a decade later
that I willfully listened to the group.

Never been so shocked in my life.
Every song, every lyric,

completely known to me,
integrated into my dna.

My father had been playing
zeppelin’s first few albums, anonymously,

on a reel-to-reel in our console stereo
since I was three years old

and even though he was dead by then
I loved him just a little bit more.

About the Author:

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1 / B-Sides

On “Polkas on 45” by Weird Al Yankovic by Michael Fournier

My grade school best friend and I wrote parodies of popular songs. Rick Springfield’s “Love Somebody” became – you guessed it! – “Hate Somebody,” the title track of our fake band’s second album, each recorded on a side of a mercifully lost cassette.

We drew album art after we finished math quizzes. Our ‘records’ would alternate tracks by vocalist; we’d record it on his boombox.

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Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1 / B-Sides

second wave ska by Leland Seese

a beat to burn off beer
make romance
unlike punks
we could dance

Summer 1980
youth and heat
time on our hands
rocksteady beat

About the Author:

Leland Seese and his wife live in Seattle, about three blocks from the house Jimi Hendrix grew up in. They have six children (foster-adopted and bio) and have welcomed many more short-term foster children over the years. His poems have appeared in The MacGuffin, Juked (Web), The East Bay Review, and many other journals.