Friday, March 16, 2018

(entièrement de ne pas entre nous)

Sometimes, not often, I’ve said this before but this time i really mean it. Ya gotta watch - listen to the vid. It really comes alive when you hear it.

(entièrement de ne pas entre nous)
Thanks but I won’t be attending. 
I’m afraid I can’t, at the brink of the age of 67, 
find much interest or purpose in what amounts for me 
to paying transmogrified homage to having navigated 
the fleet blur of four years of late adolescence near 50 
years ago (with people I now mostly barely
recall) to jump, as if I couldn't 
imagine anything more fun to do,
into a tug of war with other ‘classes’ 
(encouraged to behave like competing 
intramural teams) similarly engaged 
in what for the college is surely 
the motive force: to see what 
clutch of alumni donates the most dollar signs
to it. I don’t begrudge them this. Colleges
need lots of dough. And I’m graced
with the riches of unfathomed bliss
of a life in New York, skidding thrillingly
over the thinnest thin surfaces of a “fixed income” –

so fixed it has rendered me cleanly unable
to fit any niche which depended on
spending more than would
procure me a split,
grilled kielbasa, boiled sour-
cream-dabbed pierogi, Ukrainian
sauerkraut (misnomered: it’s a bit sweet)
at Odessa (at 7th street, Avenue A). In the odd way 

I register lessons from life, though, I have to confess
that the high-handed forced shrill-toned snark which
slits under and into these over-wrought lines –
(oh do beware markedly visual strict-driven
grids clamped on "writing":  as deadly
a march through the desert as college P.R.) –
bear the un-pretty tracks of defense scared of threat.
It resides in the fact I suspect I must here to the point
now espouse - I don’t like Christmas for just the same
reason I dislike the press of a college besieging us all
to love it. They're for people who barbecue chicken 
and make love to those of the Alien Sex. 
People with children.
I neither barbecue nor much like to fuck, but 
I very much warm to, indeed am by rep held 
by those with legitimate claims to a firsthand 
experience, as a candidate rather more likely
than not to be placed at the head (the word
pointedly used) of the queue of things having
to do with the come-hither faux-pouty moue 
of the Mouth. 
From here it goes South –
as shall I go mid-May, 
for a scatter of days, far away 
from collegiate maneuvers,
august weights and measures –
to quite other pleasures: 
to go,
oh to go! 
go to, oh! - 
where what I will do
my sly eye apperceives
(entièrement de ne pas
entre nous)
I won’t tell anyone (not even vous
nor even the who whom I'll be apperceiving -
and who anyway needs no apprising of any 
uprising, re-sizing, down-sizing or moue.
People don’t speak French in Mexico, Joe.
You forgot to learn Spanish, you twit.”
(Oh, shit.)


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Platonic Lovers’ Vendetta

Stalking Mr. Hawking’s physics was the prize –
they’d waited long and wearily for his demise.
Could they shanghai it, undercover, in disguise?
Swiftly done! Platonic lovers Yetta and Baletta
did it. Philosophy again was king! Vendetta,
won. The ruling physics now were meta.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Nothing Left But

Creation is a blast.
Happens irremediably fast.
Flushed like methane out of mud,
combusting into fire out of blood,
a bastard anarchist, a tease
who gripes at her intricacies
but ultimately undergoes
that multitude of throes
exacted by a kickass craft: mastery
as dire as catastrophe –
sentencing her like a Pontius Pilate
to be hyperconscious of the riot
she is given to incite and to assuage,
only to be murdered in its rage.
Mission: to employ and to destroy.
Nothing left but joy.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Celebrating Clara Schumann, Arlene Hajinlian, Reed Woodhouse and the New York that made everyone (but Clara) possible.

what a thrilling day, and what a vindication of New York life - which needs no vindication but I like pointing them out anyway because they’re just so juicy. Arlene Hajinlian and I are going to play 3 romances by Clara Schumann at the Broadway Bach Ensemble chamber musicale to be presented at 7 or 7:30 (I’ll give proper info closer to the time) in the parish hall behind the Presbyterian Church wherein we play orchestral concerts at 114th St & Broadway on March 22. Arlene had the good idea of suggesting that we get Reed Woodhouse to listen to what we’ve been doing with these exquisite pieces – in which Clara Schumann demonstrates her extraordinary talent as a composer (she was known for being a piano virtuoso at a time when such a career was all but unthinkable for a woman) – they’re so harmonically and rhythmically supple -- gentle, ardent, poignant, charming – written the year Robert Schumann died so it’s hard not to see them as a particularly pointed expression of love for him. (I’m always dragging artists’ bios into the work; I’m told I shouldn’t but I can’t help it.) 
Anyway Reed invited us to a practice room at Julliard (getting clearance even to walk into Julliard is a little like visiting a lockdown asylum), and he was the model coach. He has many facets to his genius but one of them is to zero in on the organizing principle(s) in a piece which not only illuminate(s) what the piece is “saying” but how performers can “say” it. You’ll see in my little video swatch from the 2nd romance below that the octave was at the germinating heart of this particular thing. However, you’ll hear it and much else to much greater and I hope much more regaling effect if you can make it to that musicale. Arlene is a joy to play music with, a marvelous pianist – we did the lovely little two movement Mozart e minor sonata at the Bway Bach chamber concert last year (when this pic of us was taken) – and I think these pieces by Frau Schumann are going to have a similarly magical effect – if that is, I don’t screw it up. Arlene won’t, believe me, so she’ll be worth the price of admission (which in this case is free! but you know what I mean) – and I’ll do my best to keep spirits afloat. The collage pic of Reed and me is just my celebration of the enjoyment we take in each other – or anyway that I take in him. I got some pretty great cronies, I’ll tell ya. New York life vindicated again and again and again.

youtube vid - (Octaves in the 2nd romance: violin only alas.)


Means of Transport

Think about it, take a cab, go get tested in a lab,
call your little brother to remind you of that joke,
order six six-packs of Coke, study Latin harder –
as if you’d quantities of answers kept like eggs
and milk and butter in a larder, fresh as long
as you believed in them, ready for the choosing,
using, losing.  But how exactly do you get from in
to out to there to here to anywhere? Your means
of transport are a queer shenanigan – imagine if
we knew that what you do to make the story of your life
come true depends on flying in un-flyable contraptions,
so disastrously incapable of getting off the ground
that anyone who saw you trying to effect a flight that way,
would stare, embarrassed, down, away, too stricken
at the sight of it to meet your eyes: and yet in spite of it
you rise, and sometimes even soar, or if not soar
then hop and stumble and get up again and dream
of so much more of what and where you think you are
that you’ve no doubt that’s where and what you'll be.
Your real life is a mystic inning in a ballgame no one
knows you’re playing every day. No one, anyway, but me.
That’s what you don’t say. That’s the secret unconveyable
essential key to how you get to something for which
you can care, how you can bear believing what you see.
You say that none of it is true. No room in it for you:
don’t know with whom it has to do – unless it’s me.
Must be me, the chimpanzee. You say it’s time
I climbed back up my tree.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Take Me to the Bullfrog Pond!

When Luther sits beside his large amorphous brother
Ruperderma, whose rose-pink translucence rarely
strikes him now as anything but silly nuisance
and whose incapacity for thinking he need ever look
ahead apparently has left him idiotically without
a necessary sense of dread that he’d be dead one day
and that to laze about as if life were a holiday is not
the way Lou knew we had to pay for this existence,
he wonders, how can you know you’re anywhere if
you don’t know one day you won’t be here? Dare to scare
yourself with the reality of absence – reckon with 
the beckoning of the abyss, witless thing! Ruperderma
sat there happy in his dilly-dallying. Sometimes he’d sing:
“Take me to the bullfrog pond and marry me to me!
Then let’s let the three of us decide what you will be.”


Thursday, March 8, 2018

None of It

It isn’t that he isn’t trying to be happy.
He bravely greets each circumstance with cheer.
But circumstances all seem separated from him by a gap he
can’t negotiate. None of it convinces him he’s here.