ONE NIGHT STAND

A realization has been clarifying

Surfacing amid currents of incubation

From which my truths and convictions

Emerge, fix, and enlighten my ways

 

Living feels increasingly like

The experience of a one-night stand

So many—perhaps all—of my enjoyments

Lack permanence, will depart; will leave me bereft

 

Five years adjusting—enjoying—a life in a new city

Friendships I made, vocational commitments

Departing to another new city

Making friends, vocational commitments

 

And even persisting in one place a long time

Businesses grow, downsize, lay off

Long-established establishments adjust

To the market’s demands, aging demographics

 

When a person is young, time feels long

One year is like an eternity

And few things change in one year

So it looks like things will always be

 

But with the perspective of many years

And the witness of businesses, clubs, and restaurants that close

Friends who move away, get terminally sick

One sees that happiness is subject to fortune

 

And so one takes the pleasure that the moment affords

Knowing that it may end precipitously

And that enjoyment may be over

Yet one partakes in full, aware that it is fleeting

Awake to its transitory nature

Courageously enjoying, not denying

What happiness a given situation affords

Contemporary Pop Music and Classic Rock

Music was at the center of our lives when my generation was young.  There were no computer games.  So instead of hanging out and gaming with our friends, we would gather in a living room or someone’s bedroom and listen to classic rock.  OK, we usually got high, too.  With this much intensity surrounding music, it is not surprising how much really good music came out of my generation.  And with the gravitas now shifted from music, it is not surprising how poor the music quality is that is being produced now.  I think that music is now largely background to video games, repeating short phrases over and over again while one’s real attention is on the virtual characters.  I try to listen to pop music today, but very quickly get bored and turn it off.

Then I get philosophical.  Is this just another example of the older generation disparaging the music and customs of the younger generation?  I think about Dean Martin and Jimi Hendrix.  The silken sounds of Dean Martin and the melodic strings backing him were a mellow mix, soothing, if not mediocre.  Dean Martin was the music my parents liked.  What a shock to their sensibilities it must have been to hear Hendrix blasting onto the music scene in the ’60’s.  Hendrix, Clapton, the Beatles, Santana, and the other great bands and players of the ’60’s and early ’70’s brought a new and powerful sound to the world.  And none of them had anything near the silken tones of Dean Martin.  Young musicians are still learning Hendrix and other classic rock tunes.  No one listens to Dean Martin.  So I return to my philosophical question.  Is my disaffection with contemporary music just another example of the old disparaging the customs of the young?  Or is contemporary music really that bland?  I suppose the real question is whether there is any music today that will last like Hendrix.  Or is today’s sound fated to follow Dean Martin into obscurity?

But Dean Martin isn’t the only voice of his time.  Miles Davis, the great jazz trumpet/composer, lived approximately the same time as Dean Martin.  Miles Davis already has a lasting place in music history.  He took the jazz he inherited and took it into a new universe, inventing along the way the style called “Cool Jazz.”  The word is that Miles Davis wanted to collaborate with Hendrix just before Hendrix’s untimely demise.  Sadly, Dean Martin made more money and achieved greater fame than Miles did in his lifetime–except for those who cared about music quality.  So when I think of generational divides, it isn’t just a matter of Dean Martin and Hendrix.  Miles lived then, too.  And while Miles isn’t of my generation, my generation admires his music and, for me, envies the generation that produced the genius of Miles Davis.

So the issues isn’t one of generations only.  It’s a matter of the gravitas music holds for the listener.  I don’t think that there is a gravitas for music today.  So I doubt that any really good and lasting music will be produced in this generation.  And, sadly, I doubt that this generation will miss it.  Rather, I look into the future, when lovers of music will generate another climate in which a Miles Davis or Jimi Hendrix will rise up in song.

COMING TO TERMS

It’s dawning on me that I will not be able

To reclaim 27 years lost,

The development I could have experienced,

When pills and depression

Robbed me

Of a competence I once had,

Which could have flourished into greater form

No, I can’t reclaim those years

Nor the increased competence I would have gained in those 27 years

I must accept the limitations on

My ability

Sad, or philosophical

I cannot reclaim those years

I may never recover even what I once was

Let alone what I could have become

With 27 years of practice, application, learning

Tragic, the waste, those lost 27 years

Coming to terms with what I am, where I am

The competences I do have, not

Those I don’t have, I could have had

THAT STRANGE SADNESS

My mind returns to the sharpness

I used to have

My will returns to a strength

I used to feel

Subsequent to a med adjustment

And relief from soporific side effects

I feel a strange sadness

As I contemplate the former competence

I used to enjoy

And wonder, at my mature age, whether

To attempt to recapture

My former competence

Or to rest in the memory

Of what I used to be

In that strange sadness

THE STORY OF GENERATIONS

They brought in a DJ at the Blues Club

Blues Club

They took the Hammond B3 off the stage

(It’s in the room with slot machines, now, covered with blankets)

The young sound technicians like Metal

So when the band does play, it’s all

Kick drum, boom—boom boom—boom

(They boost the drum sound)

No soul, no balance, no guitar,

Boom—boom boom—boom

(They boost the drum sound)

You can’t tell them anything

I’ve lost this one

We’ve lost this one

 

The owner died

The stakeholders hired a young

Cub manager who knows nothing about

Music

Operations manager for a legendary Blues Club

Money

And I watch the young displace

Me in this place

The Metal festival on farmland that the soundman produces

“Is like Woodstock,” a young girl said

“Only real music,” he said

And there’s an end to

A historic Blues Club

 

It’s the story of generations

When I was young

Hendrix

Displaced Bing, Sinatra, Dean Martin

Tragic loss, my parents must have thought

Free love

Woodstock

What’s the world coming to, they must have thought

And I think that, now

 

I’m not ready to let go the reins

And hand the world, my world, over

To the young and

Their ways

I’m not ready to let go the reins

Of this world

This life, my life

Though there is the hope of

My room in His mansion

That where He is, I may be

Eternity

The reins of life, this life, my life

I am not ready to let go

 

The story of generations

WHAT ONCE WAS, I ONCE WAS

He knew me before my confidence was

Crushed, bravado broken

Before my psychotic episode eroded

The self we both knew

He knew me when I was

Bold, brash, tough, and accomplished

We talked over a few days about good times

Performed a couple simple songs we used to play

He noticed me shaking, heard me fumble a few notes

Didn’t want to hear me narrate

The tragedy my episode was, is still

Doesn’t want to hear about me weak, my weaknesses

I don’t like it either

But as it’s me, I have to live with the narrative

Continue as best I can with

The awareness of what once was

What I once was

THE APOLLONIAN IDEAL

According to Nietzsche’s writing, my ideals would be called Apollonian

The Apollonian ideal according to which I live engenders

The isolation I have known

Sometimes despising it

Bare loneliness

Chasing learning, reading, practicing music, listening to music, writing

Pensive

All alone

Moving from one state to another

Across the borders of nations

Chasing schools, careers, saying goodbye

Assimilating the norms of new places

All alone, living alone, sleeping alone

Traveling alone—for business or edification, or it all

Times spent in solitude

Now enamored, in amour, estoy enamorado

Another soul in my solitude

Awakening love, awakened love, loving life, my life, the other

Loving even the Apollonian life I chose, choose still

In love with it all, enamorado de todo

Previous Older Entries