Poetics

Lozenges & Late Bepop

Woke up in such a state. Slept at three am. When I woke up I played The Very Best of John Coltrane — still thanking the universe for pirate bay. I’ve been listening to him for a while. Here’s how i came to know him, on an epub, and also the reason for my bad eyes:

‘Since I ran away I’ve been listening to the same music over and over—Radiohead’s Kid A, Prince’s Very Best of. Sometimes Coltrane’s My Favorite Things.’

&

‘The more you think about illusions, the more they’ll swell up and take on form. And no longer be an illusion. I try whistling to fill in the silence. The soprano sax from Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things,” though of course my dubious whistling doesn’t come anywhere near the complex, lightning-quick original. I just add bits so what I hear in my head approximates the sound. Better than nothing, I figure.’

&

‘Somewhere along the line Coltrane’s soprano sax runs out of steam.’

&

‘Coltrane picks up his soprano sax again. Once more the repetition breaks apart the real, rearranging the pieces.’

&

‘Coltrane’s labyrinthine solo plays on in my ears, never ending.’

This is Haruki Murakami, from Kafka on the Shore. Halfway into My Favorite Things I attempt a dance. Short thing. I’m surprised at my will to dance after a difficult night.

As the year comes to an end I notice I’m writing very short poems. This while the year began with an idea for longevity. A word that reminds me of lozenges. Once I wanted to sustain the poem, to work on it for months, to make it linger and say things. Now I just want it to end. There’s what the world wants us to do, what people ask us to do, as writers. And then there’s what is more powerful, what must always rise to the surface, what makes us animals. I’m standing there in front of the mirror, studying how much my face has changed over the years, and I’m thinking: this is flux, this will always remain. My favorite part of My Favorite Things has to be the first few seconds, after which I press next. In this duration I am also a dancer. Three years I danced for Dagoretti Boys High School. In those moments I had power and the means of movement in my bones, I had something close to what we might call the thing that sustains man. There were rules and form and I accepted these, quite easily. Now I’m forced to think about the reasons I don’t dance. A lack of form cannot be a reason, it can only be intermission. The rhyme is not deliberate, I promise. There are people asking me to do things, say things. People with great knowledge of the classics. But my problem remains with this idea of long. It’s a long journey to Tongpin, where my mother is. should this not be enough? What’s illness and what’s metaphor?

(Miles Davis and Charlie Parker are also recommended as improvisers.)

The other day, at terminal 1B I think, we said goodbye to a friend’s girlfriend and I was standing there in the cold thinking about departures as means of ending poems and ending life.

Her sandals are right outside my bathroom. I like this. She has been gone since Sunday. Her dress is on an old couch in my bedroom. I like this too. Something has to be said about the beauty of fucking a girl right before her period.

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