Dremm of opera.
Finally fell asleep after a long day
but as soon as I felt relaxed
I was thrown into an unknown opera.
Found myself spinning
on a tray of cocktail glasses,
I descended the staircase
like in the Magical Mystery Tour,
but what was I singing?
“. . .can’t escape the stage
ooh la la la.”
A crowd takes their seats
on the ground in a field of my memory.
And all the plants I’ve ever seen and eaten
repot in the soil of my brain.
I’m not nervous for tonight
it has already passed.
Fingers touch the ground, surfaces bend as visions blur. So many thoughts to conclude, but it’s all clutter in there, makes me anxious how the melodies flutter in cut-time. So many hours, countless time put to work on time and timing. Tone and undertones. Breaths and foot taps. Posture. How much do they fake it? Can you kid the kidder? How about the conductor? Show me the absolute truth to time. What should my dynamic be after all this interpretation? Am I only here to follow directions from the chain of gods before me? Art is not a unified entity as we like to imagine as I am not a unified entity. I am billions of cells, I can barely keep track of them all doing their thing. The only way we make sense of art is to compare one work to another—what has already been done by someone else. OH GOD, A LOT. Or is it very little? The Alexander library burning down of course makes every socialite sad. Maybe they would have found more notes in there? The same twelve notes for so long, can you believe it? There must be more than twelve, like the face of a watch? That is a coincidence if I ever saw one. 60bpm, 120/80 heart beats are so close to seconds, why we invented time around our bodies have we?
Try playing out of tune you will lose the job. No call list if you really mess up. Because in the West everything needs to be neat and tidy. Everything is divided and subdivided. We put notes to standardized cents, most A’s at around 440Hz, (so we know how fast everything is vibrating) even though the Just Noticeable Difference is 3 to 4 cents. And then melodies go into fractions—odd and even time signatures 3/4 4/4, it’s all counting and bopping your head. We have scales and keys, shortcuts to what sounds ‘good’. Scales are just aesthetical templates composers use to save time. Musicians use to practice doing something, so they feel better about their ‘technique’. They are learning the creator’s secrets. Everyone who plays is in on it, while the audience doesn’t suspect a thing, they take scales as provoked feeling and genius. And then the notes meet at the blob on the page to the mind of the musician to her nervous system to her finger tips and mouth and their note forms a part of a chord (if she is not playing a solo). There the true trinity is in the one, three, five of a chord.
But are we the sevens then? Or is that Satan? Playing it cool on the flat when things go sour and lifting when it’s time for us to feel deep and sweet and dreamy. I like the major 7th because what else sounds like that? Nothing my ears know. Major and minor chords made up their minds too much, so clean and steady of themselves being happy or sad, nothing is that plain and simple, a sad chord on a happy day, I’m sure I’ve lived most like that. Nothing is truly major, truly happy because even major chords are slightly out of tune within themselves, dissonate in-relation-to, so we cannot play to a tuner, we must learn to be out of tune with ourselves and accept the relative discomfort of playing anything at all. Everything is so close to being perfect, and then if it was, no one would find it interesting. So why do we strive for perfection? To sound like machines made our music, and they often do—we dance to what machines make all the time, isn’t that odd?—human bodies moving to digital renderings of code, data unpacking, arranging. What difference is there from the court composer and the ProTools loop? The Akai beat sampler? I am aware that I am writing about myself who is asleep, but I am also asleep right now being punched by every second that passes. I am not thinking about tomorrow, that’s for future me to worry about. The brown noise machine helps me fall asleep because it makes me forget about the void I hear in silence. I am dreading playing in the opera tomorrow. But here we are, yes it never ends once it begins until it ends.
Do you think the director will notice the green paint on the big chord over there at the end of the third movement? He can take it out of our paychecks. If he finds out. The dream splashes. I see three walls with faces of cartoons driving like in a sitcom. Or maybe it’s a drive-in theater. The host is recalling to the audience last week’s episode, “Your favorite character is coming back for more. . . Wait until you see what happens this time!”
I once looked alive up here
I see in grand golden mirrors—
a textureless figure with no facial features
a headfull of eyes.
What am I wearing if not more eyes?
and a gown made of cheese
universal cities mold.
I’m staring at the ground as I walk,
looking for something that slipped
out of my pocket
a day ago. Though I didn’t lose anything.
Now to see the crowd
would acknowledge that I am here
in this shared context with these shared rules.
Ears are everywhere.
Even in this dream.
It is my worst fear to sing out of tune!
I don’t look dead though, do I?
You can’t really see me, but I thought I’d ask.
I am Super happy, really, as one can be
in a modern way, not just telling myself that.
It is funny, how I seem like an individual on the surface
but I feel like a drop
in this vast sleeping crowd-not-yet-gathered,
maybe we never will and I’ll just be a drop
Is this opera it for me?
This dream, could it be my peak?
To be famous to myself, loved by all my multitudes,
an impossible feat perhaps. My crowd is full of hecklers
if they are even paying attention at all.
The violins are steady and quiet
matching my footsteps
until I hop off the sculpture of cocktails.
My feet hit the stage floor
and the whole orchestra plays a G minor chord.
I imagine the audience saw me
standing on liquid
but I can tell you, it was vinyl.
The reviews in 68’ wrote about how
light shone through it all multi-color
lavender, orange, chartreuse
and combined with the music and my voice.
A generous display of extravagance, like Beethoven meets Fitzgerald.
One critic famously whispered into his voice recorder.
But this opera doesn’t seem to mean anything deeper
was the final verdict.
Clarinet and flutes triplet crescendo at pace
with the image of someone climbing up an apple tree
Breaking Stanza with her long ladder.
The paper ceiling is punctured yet again,
air flows out and the scene starts wobbling
like we were inside a balloon.
Bassoons and trumpets are blaring fortissimo,
Timpani pounds staccato quarter-notes.
I have crossed the river into the next room.
Improv guitar solo
What note should I play to this Amaj7 chord?
*hovers brush over page*
*fingers over fretboard*
different spaces going places.
What color by this squiggly blob?
Maybe next to this other green shape?
Next to this lavender?
I gather notes like mushrooms in the forest.
Bake paintings like bread.
But O, the lines are already drawn for me!
true expression is accomplished
in the way I do something,
more than what it actually is.
How to splat paint onto the boards is up to us!
After all we:
How do all these blobs evoke SOMETHING going?
<Something already gone.>
And my patterns of dispersing/arranging/layering
|color, color, color|
Following this schema f
eels both liberating
oozing at the same time.
The minute passes—
shadow behind the glasses
towering so far away now
here again like yesterday
I want to go
up and over to the next dream
I had yesterday
back and up and over
to the next dream.
Life is here and now
on the dot like the ticking
minute passes—rhythm pulses
to yesteryears burnt up
and melted away.
Yes I seek
of a memory
in a box.
There it is closing now
the bottom flipping down.
and flap it drops, hey,
I wanted that.
Last time I checked I was alive.
But when I last checked, well,
I was conscious, so how would I know if I was truly alive?
I think only a few hours ago now was when I fell asleep.
I’ll never see that same river twice
not even in my own mind, so close to me ah yet so far.
The music is still resounding in a deep cave
some recess full of sounds
that glow that radiates
a voidious void.
Practicalize my light into use.
Mind—are you there?—yes?—do something memorable won’t you?
I wish I could, but every utter-trance
trances me to sentences
full of traces dance.
Blips and blips underwent
swimming full of spacers
spinning down the stairs,
down, down the caterpillar’s spine.
Patterns of the blood moon sunflares. The grind.
Being inside this thought within this persona within this dream within this brain within this body within this bed within. . .ah . . . being outside this thought outside this persona outside this dream outside this brain outside this body outside this bed outside . . . ah . . . being next to this thought next to this persona next to this dream next to this brain next to this body next to this bed next to. . . ah . . . being opposite this thought opposite this persona opposite this dream opposite this brain opposite this body opposite this bed opposite. . . ah . . . being nowhere in this thought nowhere in this persona nowhere in this dream nowhere in this brain nowhere in this body nowhere in this bed nowhere . . . ah . . . being everywhere in this thought
Candy on the desk is in a puddle
of gooey green and purple swirls, liquid ceramic
teacups are both vessel and kettle
—I must be missing home.
Long Midwest drive to the gig.
She plays the English horn in Carmina Burana,
the fields are foggy,
The piano lies dusty and unplayed here.
Why have I snails for eyes?
Everywhere I look leaves trails of slime, the road keeps streaking lights
we eat the candy on the desk
and partake in the breeze
blowing plastic palm trees into patterns—neon shadows under a neon sign
hanging out in the corner saying,
EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE IMMERSED
let us leave at the end of the movement
skip on ahead so we can go home. But the music is long and arduous.
She’s not paid by the hour, not paid at all in this dream.
The stage doors toggle on and off blue and orange and
we can’t make it through when the patterns flash off
—there’s not enough time.
We are in a practice room alone; we are on stage
with a hundred-person choir.
Is this me? Why do I look like a character from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari? I haven’t seen that film in years. The Opera Company told me to go get a headshot. I find myself in concert black, in line behind several families all fancied up in neo-60s outfits, the children are laughing at the mannequins and the stuffed duck that the photographer waves at the babies to look their way. And the parents are annoyed at how everyone is behaving. I finally get to the stool and the photographer takes the picture, heavy flash, they tell me to look pretentious like you’re an artist, I take that a little too seriously and put on my I am an artist face. Selling my soul face. Give me the duck, this isn’t working face. This is my professional pic after all—give me the opportunities. I ordered the 8x5” portraits and wallet sizes too, they exist somewhere in a desk drawer above the candy in a folder. This picture is also on my website unless I deleted it by now. Who am I?
A house someday somewhere in rendering.
I can see through the building, my eyes get stuck at the waterside by the canoe with a hole and spiders in it.
Dormant by a dock. I walk in reverse to the house and see my old bicycle, tire flat and yet spinning slowly as if it’s floating.
I knock at my own door—the pink and yellow squares are still etched in there like when I stare at the sun for too long. Through the open window of the door is a painting of a cabin on a lake. A fireplace with l.e.d. wood burning.
The trees and sky surround the windows like a musical air, melodies from a sonata picked up by breezes, touching my face, the undertones cold the overtones hot.
I watch the water swivel with cymbals and drums when I skip a rock, then it gets calm again and a flute starts a cadence.
Like dragonflies, everything feels complicated, rootless and unfamiliarly hovering now. Time takes sidesteps and fights with me? I’ve been in this scene a thousand times, tried to capture it myself, and yet I remember only the last attempt of recreating the images, the sensory details lost mostly. In a nap within a full night sleep I take a walk with my dog from childhood there. Sunset. Clichés are all we recall.
Where did the day go?
I keep thinking about the streets in novels I’ve read. Places I’ve only been in my head. Faces permeate within, the background smells the daises pushing out of the cracks between the cobble stones. Within the door frames, wooden tables and lamps talk shop with the fog, of how to be visible in midst of fading. The windows afar hold the characters from the catalogue, sleeping until I think of them again.
I anticipate a two-hour drive today, when I wake up I must go to the opera. So many rests to count, I only play in half the movements, sometimes I wonder why I do this at all. What an absurdity playing in an orchestra or dreaming in paintings. The director doesn’t know what he’s doing, never notices the good players, only the bad. Can’t keep time that errant knight of a fool.
My inner voice speaks French.
Les chats savent.
Maestro being a little gremlin, wakes me up.
I imagine the audience staring in horror at the sound of my instrument. And the square light shape of the window is just on the other side of my eyelids.
Time to stretch.
There is more behind the fragmented and ungroundedness of myself.
but the limits of what-else-I-could be seem to be getting greater.
I am more confined to language than I have ever been, of how I talk.
Every day, words|sounds|colors squirm like filaments all dangling in the air, around me, wrapping up ends of endless possibilities.
Once the immaterial materializes I feel doomed to content, what it consists of. Oh the media of it all!
The existential boredom of being, of self-awareness again and again aware of me of my personality repeating the same patterns that make me feel situated in a society which makes me tired, unhappy, poor. Yet all the while there is so much shivering of happiness, and this music—I bask lizardlike pissing the day into joyous embraces.
I seemingly just appeared here. In this physical body interacting with my surroundings, I am embarrassed with my own spatiality—the fact that I take up resources, exist at all.
On the other hand, I should resist that,
I am already alive after all. To be in this space should not embarrassing but beautiful.
Sometimes it feels we can either
Experience Euphoric Love & Jouissance With Nature or Ignore the Death of a Planet and Go About Our Days
We have this one large environment which is engaged in a series of chain reactions, in the micro and macro levels from bacteria to massive quantities of gases. The ways we can make a difference seems quite small. And
The more I realize the gravity of the situation the more hopeless it feels.
Typing things out helps me think.
And Things Aren’t Hopeless.
pool of thought swim down
blow bubbles inside bubbles
live for something deep
clarity seems to
appear when least expected
dust on dust on dust
play who you are, not
who you seem to be, forget
that we act on wire
finger tips reaching
over oceans of mountains
snow peaks are melted
drive a car all day
sleep on a bed during night
and write in your mind
light on my hands glow
leaf drip sunbeams, drown in ears
forgetting lungs beat
i wish i could swim
so that maybe i would feel
closer to my soul
where the edges meet
with my body i know it
wont be long before
something changes paths
to be aloft, more myself
ah to be moon light
we will begin our
decent into—-where are we
Nothing here today
is an illusion,
asserting that objects or gestures hold meaning
Taking a break from
Instagram for a while
I am back on now.
Nothing here today
No content available
is an illusion
that works on the premise that melodies
and ideas hold meaning
in which there is significant substance to unpack.
May we never know a world with no opera.
How could we feel and evaluate things differently
than one might experience in a world
with no music or singing?
O, even still, what sadness arises
despite how we feel.
Art ultimately is activated only
upon being perceived and remembered by you dear reader.
But who knows? Maybe it’s like love.
On the drive, doo-wop playlist blaring. I notice my left speaker is blown and think about how music sounds better in mono anyway. But I can’t stand listening now with the wind of the freeway going through my broken door. I put on a podcast to hear comforting familiar voices.
I drive up to the theater and go in the back entrance, walk through the door. There is a dimly lit hallway with a thousand more doors it seems. Musicians are scattered around. I can hear violins warming up, drums tuning.
Singers pace back and forth as they mumble nonsensical phrases in Latin.
Sometimes I think about the plot of the opera, and how no one really knows what it is half the time, or if the composer had a plot in mind at all. We only know our individual parts—something about a turkey roasting in the oven and sexual desire, that much is clear. The super-titles begin a series of jokes that don’t match up with the lyrics. The musicians laugh at what is actually happening and the audience is laughing at the altered lyrics.
The scope of which I see the land
pulls my eyes outward and over the horizon.
It stretches my soul to the tallest canopy
where the wind picks up
my dying human residue.
I scatter a vision on leaves
pyramids of other people’s minds grow
like trees with shoes.
We belong to both each other and the void—
highway on which the gusts blow
between us. My dear passenger,
take me with you let us exchange
poems of ethers coming and going
Our body in the surf as one as millions
We are made of eyes sensing the absence
of nothing—a flow of
peaks and valleys fading and growing soft.
And wet as the cracks
In the clay fill with breezes gold
We are tidal waves in essence,
A finger of smoke dripping.