Thursday, February 24, 2011

Native Soul

Native Soul

It’s clear, they warned us and we snickered. Snicker on my fellows even though hollow to you narrates the truth:

“Man proud man,

Ignorant of what he is most assured” etc

That was years ago and now the very essence of proof is upon us. We have betrayed the spirit of what brought us here.

“Have we come from elsewhere? By these instruments shall we go home?” Etc

I am old and will withstand the final grimace.

My children, I pray, will too.

But their children, my own grand-subsequence;

Theirs is a questionable consequence.

When water is fought for

When air is gasped

When thought no longer reaches for the possibility

Of the sublime

When minute-by-minute life is simply held on to

Without grace or cause for hope.

But because an ancient message still resonates from the time of crocodiles: “survive god damn you. Survive!"

What will these children of our children cry out?

“ Couldn’t you fucking work it out?

There has always been enough for everyone.

Couldn’t you share? Couldn’t you care?”

Mother was dying and you groveled for what you could hole up in your castle-keep.

Mother was dying…..

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I had a party today.

I was feeling bummed out. for a lot of of superficial reasons. People showed up from everywhere and every time. Grammar school to old age.. Many of us cried at having lost a connection that we missed without realizing it

When we feel lost or estranged it is because we allow those that have meaning to ourselves to somehow float away.

I went back to my journal 3/ 09:

"Connections with friends
"Connections to nature
" Connections to history
"Connections to and between my mental process and those of other beings .

These "connections" make possible a sane and acceptable existence.

Without such connections we flounder in a world of contradiction."

Secure is our love for one another. THAT is what ties us to the earth and allows us to pass beyond the nuts that run things.

But that we could corner one of them and ask a few simple questions.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mark and Mick

In the end it does not matter what the words say,

nor what the man promised,

The end says it all.

And if the the man promised greatness, and he faltered,

Or if the man faltered and rose to excellence…

Who should care?

A man has only his own weight and bears it as best he can.

There are pivotal obstacles that no one outside can measure.

These make a great man lesser

And a leeser man seem great.

We learn through the lens that traffics constant effort.

A relentless effort.

A great untireless struggle. Yes I say yes! Bare the pain.

We win because we do it in love.

Give us each our time

And see us as the eager tendril

That once trampled on, has finally pushed through.

In the end it does not matter what the words say. nor what the man promised.

The end says it all.

And if the man promised greatness...and he faltered,

Or if the man faltered and rose to excellence,

Who should care? A man has only his weight and bears it as best he can.

There are pivotal obstacles that no one outside can measure.

These make a great man lesser

and a lesser men seem great.

We learn only through through the lens that traffics constant effort.

A grand solar tropic gamble.

Give us each our time and see us as the eager tendril

that once trampled on , has finally pushed through.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Betrayed ll

Ah, once this person showered me with praise and all thoughts lovely and with equality… called me Uncle as if we were family.

But then we entered into business and the terms of our discourse upset me greatly as negotiations were shaded with mistrust and questions as if we were not observant of those ties that bind a family into unwavering loyalty.

And now I know that blood is blood and everything else is a promise that may shatter with the next wind.

It is a pity, a great pity ……an even greater sorrow.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Glenn Gould and...


Entrusted to me were Garbo’s ‘notes’.

Years before they were published I came across this entry that I found rather peculiar in that I heard a voice I hadn’t heard before, a plaintive probing voice. Judge for yourself:

Some time ago I saw an interview by ‘x’ with Glenn Gould. The interviewer asked him why he chose to re-record the Goldberg Variations. Remember that his original recording some twenty plus years earlier was what brought a heretofore unknown Canadian pianist to the forefront of the classical music’s world in terms of a profound musical interpretation of what had been considered Bach’s exercises for piano studies.

Gould’s foundation was therefore challenged by Gould himself. Those hearing the new recording were confused by the ostensible contradiction in interpretations. The two were said by some to be analogous to the physicist’s apparent quandary whether to describe light as wave or particle. So I was most fascinated by what Gould himself would say. I ask you to forgive my paraphrase but I believe it is close enough.

Gould said, ‘Ahh, There was a good deal of PIANO PLAYING on that early recording and I don’t mean that in a good way’.

I have puzzled over what Gould called piano playing and what he much later believed to be the very deepest expression.

Today I saw a painting show at the Getty Museum of some of the finest works by Jean-Leone Gerome. And I found his work most intoxicating, and as satisfying as many of us found in Gould’s first recording of the ‘Variations’.

The Gerome show was on loan at the Getty, but on this same day I saw, in the permanent collection at the Norton Simon Museum a Rembrandt self-portrait.

I spent some time this evening thinking about Gerome, Gould, Bach, Rembrandt and somehow without belittling Gerome I felt the difference between Great Painting and the depth of a great soul showing itself. Do you follow me?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Performances (Garbo)

Performances (Garbo)

After a bit more Ouzo than usual, Garbo went over to his stereo and played Maria Callas : Casta Diva from Bellini’s Norma. His head was bowed and as it faded, he turned and said,

“I was there, I heard her sing this alive. It was a very moving moment. In Vienna where Beethoven shook boots off. In the great hall that Kokoschka painted. I walked up those gleaming marble stairs and waited for Maria. She brought Greek tragedy to the twentieth century and beyond. I don’t go to live concerts anymore; I have spoiled myself by listening to my favorite performances over and over.

You know I paint with the great music every day, every day all day for 40 or more years. So that now I have no leeway in the sound or feeling of it. Tempo tempo. There is only one tempo to Shostakovich 5th. I have to leave. Not that I am correct in my assessment of a performance. I have, as I said, denied myself the capacity to appreciate any other interpretation of Bach than Glenn Gould, and that is a very sad thing. I’m a poorer being because of it. But Gould it has to be.

But there was a time it was not so. When I heard Renata Tibaldi (Turandot) in Barcelona. You know they carried her limo as they cheered. I was speechless but she sat unruffled in the back seat and waved. Or Leontyne Price, a voice like rosewood or teak. In London I heard her make a sound like it had been resonating throughout the Universe forever.

I heard the great pianists as well: Rudolph Serkin, Richter, Gilels, Rubenstein, and Casadesus, on successive weeks in Florence during the May Music Festival. I heard Casals play in the great Cave in Rhondo. One of the enormous limestone caves in southern Spain. One cannot describe such a tremolo. I missed Toscanini but saw one of the last performances of Serge Koussevitzky. And Leonard Bernstein, I went in ready to see histrionics but found myself yelling for another curtain call. I love Lenny and prefer his Mahler to any other.

One thing more, Give me Di Stefano who makes me believe.”

Garbo was a little red in the cheeks as he finished and tossed his head as if to say ‘There I go again.’