Saturday, March 31, 2018


Is death our fault? A corporal
punishment? Admonishment
from some vast mystic Moral Board
that we have failed the vital test?
Is that why we’re remanded
to the maw of death? If we were virtuous
exemplars of some cosmic law,
would nothing sever us from breath?
If we, say, ceased our wanking off,
would we be spared that final spanking?
Soft! What light through yonder
window t
hen would break?
Would it invite us to be good
so we not only could but would
live on the Earth eternally?
Then let’s go out
and fuck things up infernally.
Promise me nonbeing
or at least a little coma in a b’n’b
before careening me
into another change
of scenery.
Elsewise I’m-a quit
this beanery.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

If You Heard Another Word

Thou hast done it now, so thinketh I of thee.
Thou mak'st a bow and vow, in front of me,
to aim a chuckle, like a gun, in my direction.
You love fomenting insurrection –
caressing floating bits of ambient geometry
to animate new stratagems of that psychometry
in which you are adept: feel up psyches from inside
to see what you can get to fit to you so you can ride
with it into that inner pyrotechnical expanse
that wants you – waits to swallow your first glance
at it: that sentient and voracious atmosphere:
think famished Santas jonesing to eat deer –
all their deer! – tonight! And then a tasty stew
whose basis, they are praying, might at last be you.
‘That’s it? A crock.’ Oh no: the shock, my dear!
If you heard another word, you’d disappear.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Clara Schumann’s 3 Romances for Piano & Violin - prologued by a poem, "When Women were the Order of the Day"

First a poem about nothing in particular except that I wrote it - well, something in me wrote it - for Clara Schumann and her half-sister Marie Wieck. Marie was 12 years Clara's junior, and she was a pretty amazing musician, too. Otherwise the poem has no particular aim except to distract you a little, so that you'll forget that music is coming. 

When Women were the Order of the Day
A Poem for Clara Schumann and her Half-Sister Marie Wieck
They came from watering the horses
And regaling them with hay.
When women were the order of the day.
Sisters were the siblings whom we looked to
For the balance of regard that seemed most
Human in the shadow play
Where love imbued you without effort
To assume you had a place here
In the world. Anyway, two girls unfurled
Into two women who sat down
In front of me and talked
About what they could see
So unselfconsciously
It made me want to sit with them
And look at me as well. And so I did!
The three of us conferred about the self
We saw across from us
Then lost our train of thought.
They changed the subject to the vagaries
Of hay: which to a feed a horse, legume
Or grass? Their knowledge of the horse
And hay was vast. I felt lonely for the fellow
I’d once been who sat across alone, alone,
an un-played violin.
So I went back to him,
And there I’ve spun and here I spin
The business of me out and in
Which hasn’t changed since Eve invented sin
And made the world as wonderful
As it has been. She was the daughter
Of the Morning and the Mother of the Way.
When women were the order of the day.

Clara Schumann's 3 Romances for Piano and Violin,
Arlene Hajinlian, piano & Guy Kettelhack, violin

Played by Arlene Hajinlian and Guy Kettelhack
for a wacko passeggiatta of untoward admirers.

If there’s any enterprise designed to reassure you of the rightness of your conviction born of many years of inarguable (in my case not infrequently humiliating) evidence that if you are a musician, even a creditable one, you will never in your life know the state of performing anything perfectly, it’s, well, just that: playing music. Arlene Hajinlian and I assayed Clara Schumann’s 3 romances for piano and violin and I think we did a fine moving heartful job on it; as far as I’m concerned she was perfect but oh boy is intonation a bitch on the violin for the likes of imperfect me. Still, all in all, in the recording we made of the run-through we did a day before the Broadway Bach Ensemble chamber music concert where we played it – Arlene had recently found out about & had plumbed the mysteries of using the iPhone voice memo to record it (don’t always have to video it! yay) which worked just fine – I think it turns out to have been a pretty wonderful take on these exquisite pieces: we played from the heart and, although it bared all my violinistic sins mercilessly, we managed to do Frau Schumann’s compositions some real justice.
An unmet technological hurdle was how to transfer the voice memo to something you could put on YouTube or Facebook – I got an app called “Splice” which I read on google was recommended for the purpose, but although I searched for step-by-step guidance on how to effect the transfer (to an portable MP4 thingy, someone suggested online) I couldn’t find it. So I ended up returning to video mode and recording it from my laptop, which fuzzied the sound a little but managed, I think, to give it a worthy run nonetheless. I couldn’t think what to put as a visual, so I resorted to showing a sort of wacko passeggiatta of my creatures in the form of the drawings I post virtually daily as profile pics (since I draw one pretty much everyday and have since April 1, 2009, I don’t lack for promenaders). I think it ended up being fun, though there was and may still be a risk for many who watch this to think the point is the creatures. The point is the music: the creatures were just really eager to listen to it, and I hope you’ll agree that they didn’t not like it. I hope you don’t not like it, too. (Either?) In fact I hope you really like it!
What a joy to play with Arlene!
Cheers, from the lot of us.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Further Punditry...

Further Punditry on the Nature of #@+*^!
as it Relates to the #@+*^!
of Art.

(here’s the link to the first one:

As is almost always with the case with my little manifestos, this part 2 of the part 1 of my musing about the wellsprings of Art emerged from a two-way email confab with Reed Woodhouse, whose very fine mind always prods mine (or so I fancy) to be a least little finer than it would otherwise be. But/and the impulse in all this burrowing not so much into ‘what art is’ as where it comes from in me very much feels native to me. As I fall more regularly into what W.H. Auden I believe called “the habit of art” – which became the title of a play I saw some years ago in London which detailed an encounter between him and Benjamin Britten – a phrase by which I mean, as I regularly find myself doing my version of what my mother did throughout her life – sit down daily at her drawing table to paint – I more and more experience not as the product of discipline or even exactly intention, but as something the animal of me insists upon, as biological as sex or eating. It’s out of my wonder at and curiosity about this that I keep massaging the skin of this animal to see what reactions I can get from it about what’s going on in it. Odd to attempt to watch an act of creation you’re doing yourself. But sort of riveting in a Jamesian way. (It’s what the James brothers William and Henry did every day.)
I have to keep the doors and windows wide open on this all the way. The exciting thing for me has been to recognize more fully than ever these days that the processes of attraction and selection and applying whatever tools or skills I have to give them expression probably characterize every moment of my thinking and feeling and expressive life. They seem to me now in no way different (except in degree) from what I bring to bear on a drawing or poem or email or musical effusion on the fiddle or singing a song than they are when I open my eyes and look out the window in the morning: all are acts at least of proto-creation, the looking-out-the-window part only proto- because it hasn’t yet found expression.
To me this doesn’t level all perception and apprehension of the world into some meaningless undifferentiated mass of plasma nor does it suggest that there aren’t different degrees of noticing, liking or disliking what we apprehend, nor is something we’ve good reason to call intention uninvolved in what we may decide to do, say, write, perform or talk on the phone about it (though ‘intention’ to me remains loaded with the imponderable), and certainly it doesn’t address the realms of achieving excellence in that expression, indeed discerning for ourselves what excellence even means, or the specificity of what skills are needed to achieve it: that is, it doesn’t explore critical thinking: it’s really just about what accounts for art happening at all - but not only art. We exercise a majority of these discernments any time we take in anything.
That’s the excitement for me, which seems simple and profound: to recognize that human sentience in the very nature of how it understand things and expresses them employs a heterogeneity of often exquisitely honed responsive abilities the achievement of art depends on. We’re hardwired for it. I can see how this might seem fatuously self-evident (I hear echoes of HG Wells excoriating the late Henry James’ grandiose smallnesses), but it’s rich stuff to me.
I even think it’s fun! - although I probably haven’t made it sound very fun. In fact I may well have created the horrible jolly bunny you see here that would make a child cry.

Greasing Our Palms

A sideways glance at gods on Palm Sunday
Gods are souls for whom the usual varieties of life
will never do. They must refuse to choose our miracle:
they recuse themselves from having any sway in any way
in our empirical attempts to navigate mortality because
they’re implicated at the heart of why we had to take it on.
They are prime movers in a force amounting to an irresistible
persuasion that death must become the pivotal recourse
for incarnation, because without it there would be no flesh
or breath. Mortal beings are the sole anointed ones upon
whom gods bestow the influential rhythms that we know
of anguish, love, suspense – boredom, sadness, joy, discovery
and disappointment – lassitude and irrepressible desire
with its lusts and musts: the trust that blesses us when
spoken, and eviscerates when broken, so at last we grasp
what more is and what less is. Death is central to the engine
we call life. But gods make sure we’ll never be inured to it –
we never will catch onto the subversiveness of evening
and of dawn, even when we’re told as if right out, as we are
told in fables such as this, that evening, dawn and gods
and we are phantoms: myths which fog the truth. Will we
ever know the truth? We are the truth. What could it mean
to know it? Being it, how could we not? To know is not
to say it. Gods grease our palms, liberally sacrificing starring
roles, giving us mortality so we can play it, remanding their
obliquities to fairytales beyond the portals through which
only mortals can gain entry, to work out ways to die and to be
born that can be borne. That’s the deal with Jesus: his self-
erasure frees us: reveals forthwith that he’s a myth so
we’ll believe we’re real. Gods and their glories are stories.
Don’t expect to see one. Unless it is your turn to be one.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Art: The Real Truth.

Why Everybody’s an Artist and Everything’s Art.

When I think of the pros and cons of what Facebook’s use is to me, I realize I’ve made it do the same bidding that I require of pretty much everything else in my life: to be my forum and my canvas and the wall upon which for a moment I affix my framed – oh fuck, I’ll just call it what it never wants to be called but probably grudgingly would have to admit in some dimension or other it is – “art.” Actually the world isn’t just the place I put my art. The world IS my art. Or anyway is after I’ve had my way with those parts of its body my lusts compel me to tart up or rearrange to my liking.
I don’t think I’m any different in this from anybody else. It suggests a commonplace truth about perception. We don’t ‘see’ anything until our perceptual apparatuses make sense of it: which means we don’t see anything until we decide what it is.
We’re always making up what we perceive. It’s how we’re constructed. Is this a priori “art”? I think so. That is, I don’t know what distinguishes any product of perception from another categorically: how we feel and what we think and our modes of expressing it interiorly or out there in the world require exactly what any art requires: 1) assessment 2) identification 3) sorting out its emphases (focusing on what we like and ignoring what we don’t) 4) ‘seeing’ (choosing to see) color and shadow and light and composition in whatever the way the brain directs us to see it 5) expressing it in words we choose to describe a finally indescribable (ineffable) reality. “Reality” can never be described, certainly not ‘objectively’ and only imperfectly ‘subjectively’: we can’t put an equals sign between experience and any word we may want to stand for it.
Art is just what human beings have to do if they’re sentient. It’s like breathing.
What about an audience? Oh, an audience is everything, everyone we see – i.e., everyone, everything we ‘make.’

Friday, March 23, 2018


I am a perilologist – my dreamlife makes this sure:
for every crisis that besets, I always find the cure.
Perilology requires loving messes: shoving each
malign Medusa-squirming spilling killing tress
into benign collective flow: making obduracy turn
from red to green to go. As a perilologist, I suavely
dive through mental tar: panic-blizzards turn out
not to be exactly what, awake, one thinks they are.
With somnolent assuredness, I wield my muscled
soul, re-coalesce the Universe into a blessèd whole.
Oh, lovely lessons of the purple greeny deep! Thanks,
Big Bang, for so resourcefully insisting upon sleep.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Things People Get Up To Late at Night
Let the vagrant sifting quantities of tune
that pale March light suggests as it begins
to tumble towards the night bestow their
strange alluring modal breaths – occluding
expectations – framing inner sight: so that
what starts to fill you up is something like
the brightness that the blind might conjure
in the mind as they begin to find that
somewhere in the Universe exists experience
of seeing. Is the soul a thing that hauls up
psychic sludge, transmutes the blob into
a lucent being? Does it always do its job?


guy plays bach for bach's birthday - first ave entrance F Train Second Ave Stop 2-3 pm March 21

TODAY - 2 - 3 PM - my violin and I will wish Bach a happy 300th birthday at the F train Second Avenue Station - at the First Avenue & Houston Street exit/entrance area (where you buy subway passes) - not on either the Brooklyn or Manhattan bound platforms themselves (where the trains actually arrive). (There are two exit/entrances on on First Avenue & Houston and one on Second Avenue & Houston - again, for me, go into the First Ave one.)

come hear & see & hum along!
2nd Avenue, New York, NY, United States - Second Avenue Subway Stop Platform
subway platform - entrance either at 1st avenue & Houston
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
see above.

I’d like to play various parts of Bach’s unaccompanied sonatas and partitas – just those movements I CAN play (well) – a sort of sampling of the bach I love best. I may also play movements from the keyboard and violin sonatas. Just a sampling of what Bach did for and with the violin.
I’ve played professionally, taught the violin, now play as an amateur in various capacities, most regularly in the Broadway Bach Ensemble. Contact me if you’d like on Facebook or at

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ye Gods!

Ye gods, there’s no time! ‘It’s a figment, a not,’
ran the plot of the play in my head. Tossed me right
out of my bed. ‘Instead all we’ve got steaming out
of the pot is a lot of invincible rhyme,’ they said.
It turns out the cosmos evinces one fashion upon
which the whole business rolls – a dash and a curve
and a flash and a swerve which begat what begat us:
our rhythm and verve. Rhyme, not time. The pure
rhyme that you’re, and the rhyme that I’m. Our
queries are these: Please! Does anyone have
the right rhyme? What rhyme do we get into bed?
What rhyme of the day or the night will we die?
It’s about rhyme we knew. We now got the clue 
that rhyme waits for no woman or man: we’re 
rushed into lissome departures: to watch archers
of tongue-in-cheek chic the way Emily Dickinson’s 
fits fix her feats in a pique that permit us a peek into
genius – where would we see so much heterogeneous 
bliss of audacity anywhere other than in the dark
lark of the mother of her heart’s inscrutable art?
But to make it our own in a song not a groan –
that’s what we’re roaming the cosmos to find –
that’s the task here in the gloaming. No fiction
of time anymore: now it’s all simultaneity – the sea
to the shore, an orgy galore of the assonant word –
often absurd, sometimes sublime, or a viable crime
out of hell in the grime of an untended zoo of the fun
stuff in you – there are rhymes for that, too:
amid all of the rest of the worst and the best
of the profligate need to make verse – eternally
busting our asses with assonance without which
we would not be. And oh dear, as you see, it appears
a great deal of the fate of the Cosmos has fallen
to me. But soon, I am told, I’ll be granted asylum.
Where I’ll strive to supply ‘em with rhymes such as
“phylum” and “xylum”: rhymes that will keep us alive.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Facing Faces


Steam-surging out of their factory,
rising up high from their genesis spot,
four of six faces look right into me,
the other two clearly will not.
This is as close as I’ll probably get
to what brings on this onset of faces
who daily beset me so I might beget
their effects on a white paper’s spaces –
I’ve as much clue of the what and the who
of the four who looked into my eyes
as I have of the psyches of those other two
who will never give up their disguise.
If a disguise it is, in fact: to think
I could know a damned thing but what I
might decide in a poem might blink
in their presence and not be a lie –
you can see why my mind goes numb.
And when I reflect on the spirit and letter
Of people I know, I’m equally dumb.
I don’t know any of them any better.


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.)