Daily Archives: November 15, 2002

For the Musicians on my friends list :)

There is a book by Kenny Werner called Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within that I cannot recommend more highly to anyone who thinks they ever were, ever wanted to be, or ever will be a Musician. The introduction to this book is so personally moving to me; it describes almost exactly what I feel being a Musician is all about. I don’t think Kenny would mind if I shared it here with you – perhaps it will convince you to purchase the book (and its accompanying CD of guided meditations) for yourselves.

There is an ocean. It is a drop of consciousness, an ocean of bliss. Each one of us is a drop in that ocean. In that sense, we are all one – or as a famous American television commercial states, “We’re all connected.” Illusion would have us think that we are all separate entities, separate drops. But if that were true, we would all evaporate rather quickly.

As we expand our limited selves into this infinite consciousness, we tap into a great network of infinite possibilities, infinite creativity – great, great power. Carried by the waves of this ocean, we swirl past all limitations and maximize our potential. Everything good that can possibly happen to us, from within and without, does. Our abilities expand beyond all reasonable limits, and we become a magnetic force for abundant light and all that that implies.

We are all part of a universal game. Returning to our essence while living in the world is the object of the game. The earth is the game board, and we are the pieces on the board. We move around and around until we remember who we really are, and then we can be taken off the board. At that point, we are no longer the game-piece, but the player; we’ve won the game.

As Musicians/healers, it is our destiny to conduct an inward search, and to document it with our Music so that others may benefit. As they listen to the Music coming through us, they too are inspired to look within. Light is being transmitted and received from soul to soul. Gradually, the planet moves from darkness to light. We as Musicians must surrender to the ocean of our inner selves. We must descend deep into that ocean while the sludge of the ego floats on the surface. We let go of our egos and permit the Music to come through us and do its work. We act as the instruments for that work.

If we can live in this realization, we will constantly have deep motivation for what is played, never getting stuck in the ungrateful consciousness of good gigs/bad gigs, out-of-tune pianos, low fees, ungracious audiences, and so on. Instead, our minds will be consumed with what a very great privilege it is to be the one selected to deliver the message to others. We will no longer be caught in the mundane world of good Music/bad Music (“am I playing well?”). Instead, our hearts and minds will be focused on the task of remaining empty and alert to receiving this inspired information and translating it faithfully, without any coloration from us.

Kenny Werner, Effortless Mastery

Enjoy the day, ya’ll…

Kind of Blown (Miles Davis is Past Tense Now)

Esse Quam Videri :

The siren’s song bleeds forth through tenement crags:
the plaintive wail of mad dog penguined Perseus,
hunting down in ancient rites street Circe and her rabid whores.
Along this path, this street of more than visions bust wide open,
broken alcoholic remnants sing their way through chartless waters,
their beatless feat marauding innocent tattered papyrus

(who will play the amphitheater tonight?)

in dreams of sessions with the kings.

No Nirvana at each or any egress here, yet here the many ways are becoming:
the way of light, of fire-bombed boarded sanctuary,
of semen dreams and sweat-stained prophylactic idols;
illuminated cubes of frozen water stained by grease and yellow sticky air;
petroleum distilled and consumed by combusted, rusted alcoholics.
Pupils of the raven cult and pots-flesh with the ague of morning slip the steps –
the eightfold path – and leave their standards dog-eared, tattered, spiral-bound and out of context.

Across the way, in sheds of glass and steel and concrete linoleum we exchange choruses –
like cardboard heroes of America’s pastime or faded glues of philately –
I’ll consider swapping one of Shakespeare, two of Marlowe, maybe a faded and torn Goethe
for a single mint G.B. Shaw or Aristophanes.

What’m I bid?

Some lukewarm geezer cat expands, and presents in trade a wisp of the Marquis de Sade –
‘Stella’ badly improvised or ‘Nigeria’ backwards.

Hardly hearty, hurling hardy-har-har hauntings
in language that recalls the Septuagint,
if not in content then in form,
our twisted Greek-inspired language compresses life
into steps of seven and its halvings.

Salaam alaikum

The spirit of darker men with darker pasts slides smoothly off the windexed glass.
Who will hear, and who will know the difference if we, careless, mutter
tempus fugit or reducto ad nauseum?

Homo Africanus

Where is your champion,
cut from pagan games we liken to our ritual dances?
Death, where is thy tag?
thy who is it?
and beat the time and tabulated circumstance
for whom the olly-ox is free?

This place exists, but oh, where is it?
Trust an atlas, or go visit.

Who walks these naked, hard, forsaken, bliss-infected, dead-end streets of time
and space and each? ‘Tis Perseus again, in winter’s cap and caftan

(each enclosing like memory’s hard and bitter lovers).

The Father Quest, the Mother Envy, vagina lust and penis frenzy,
copulated in Circe’s graven image while Tiresias looks on,
flaccid and overcome with bored secrets.

Tanked (entanked) we plexi-flex our sinews and synapses;
breathe our last condition exhalation then replace our ears with diaphragms
of extra-chambered artificial percussion;
The drums of my sonic perception have received the mark,
VU needles driving through the flesh of my waking self and scarring the inner child
with rhythmic tattoos.
Later, hands with nimble digits, dexterous in equal tasks:

(nicotine embalming, flower picking, moist and sticky sweet oh shall we load the pipe again and inhale dreams of lethargy and ends-of-clocks and magic lantern slides in Ginsberg’s etchings on the skull?)

seek sweet release in telephone’s substitution code –
a number for a name for a face for a person for a bag for a few more dollars.

How’s my credit, slick?

This time exists, but oh, when is it?
Trust chronology, or visit.

The siren’s song surrounds us as we, restive, banter;
lined on sandless beaches seeking something, nothing, waiting.
Grins through crooked lips as officers of peace and oxymoron
seek their secret seeker out among the pelicans that form our ranks,
quaffing salted tears and sucking in the saltpetered herrings at our lips.

Nueve uno uno?

Who has summoned from the magic circle spirits of authority
by chanting the mantra of tardy rescue?

Ladies of the evening, biology, chronos, and welfare wrought, bring forth
their solid wombs of sorrow in mid-morning, or at any and each time the call is weaker.

How our sweet Aegean island beckons yet repels the cyclops who is ruler in his own blind land!

Who has heard the rasping, muted chorus of the dark,
when Perseus claims his pyrite fleece and we become lambs?

Choruses are still exchanged,
like cards on Federal holydays that cannot be delivered;
like blows that turn to kisses in the light of Armageddon;
like oxygen that unites with Hydro’s fire and then is drowned,
gasping for air or the last of a cigarette.

Sophocles?

I’ll give you Jonson, hard to come by as the Beckett,

hard as nails
or steel
or time
or luck
or rock
or comprehension.

What?

Homo Africanus

Speaks unfettered, bound and packaged for the holydays
in sweet, suggestive, sullen streams of soft, seductive slavery.

A homeboy (mind exploded from an implication) wreaks his private havoc on a world
that blind says, ‘now I see.’

Reversed names become institutions while the real school swelters
in the carbon frost of glazed and bitter days;
Perseus and his Father are One, the myth of becoming has ceased
to believe its own symbolism.

This me exists, but oh, who is it?

There are more than empty halls of rooms that dream of exits,
each and any and all times of passion,
reaching out once cold and malevolent fingers
in the massage of ivory of hardened plastic of brass of wood of fate.

Solomon sings the sirens’ song with technical prowess;
none of the notes escape the wise man save for each and every one.

Liar, lyre, parts afire,
can you bring me wood that’s drier?

Solomon sings
the sirens’ song – 
but he’s got
the changes wrong.

1991

This is a poem that I wrote while in Boston, studying to become a jazz Musician (LOL). Composed a day or two after Miles Davis died, I like to think of it as my Jazz Impressions of “Prufrock”, or daring to disturb the universe that is professional musicianship; wondering why we do the things we do in the name of artificially inseminating a culture. I also was thinking of writing a longer piece, like “Howl” or “The Wasteland”.

Time Out in the Morning

Some people like Mozart in the morning to get their brains going (at least, that’s one of the prevailing theories, that in particular Mozart’s quartets and quintets are counterpoint that causes your neurons to fire in an order conducive to enhanced synapse activity – on a par with getting a processor accelerator for your PC, which is what the brain is, albeit its artificial intelligence we as OEM installations tend to think is less artificial than other types of intelligence). Oh, how I go on …

Anyway, while some prefer Mozart, I think it’s essential to swing a little early on, and yet find something that will jerk you (gently, of course, it is the butt-crack of dawn) out of your alpha-state. For this delicate task, I have found there is nothing better than a little Dave Brubeck – in particular, his quartet’s classic albums Time Out and Time Further Out. The former, of course, is almost immediately recognizable; the latter is more than more of the same, and I in particular like the Maori-influenced selections. Not quite as culturally-savant as, say, Jazz Impressions of Japan … when I saw Bru in 1994, he and his current group played some selections from that overlooked gem … quite wonderful indeed.

Something is missing from the stereophonic records of the present … something that, if you listen to older rock records, and most jazz from the 50’s and 60’s, you’ll find in spades. That is, of course, STEREO separation. Different instruments on the right and the left, without bleed over; you know, the kind of recordings where if your left car speaker is out, you don’t hear half the tune (only, for example, the “spangle-lang” of Elvin Jones without the cascading sheets of ‘Trane). The Beatles albums had this wonderful feature; most great psychedelic era bands knew how to use it (although not always judiciously). It gives your brain something to think about, separate chunks to process, different paths to interact with. And there is, as a result of this ONLY REASON TO RECORD IN STEREO, something that is so definitely, desparately and sadly lacking from most modern recordings — space.

Oh, but I digress (actually, how can it be a digression when it is the tangent that is more satisfying than the main course) …

Morning, ya’ll…