Wednesday, May 27, 2020

All our springs and falls and now rolls over our limpness

Selfishly missing travel - specifically plane rides - and thinking about this lil thing I wrote elsewhere last year when I thought I was sick, which I am not (yet!) but still:

"So it turns out that it was mostly my occasionally debilitating allergies wot done it, and now I’m sitting on my bed post-doctor experiencing something I’ve only really felt during my best-planned long-haul flights, where a not-entirely-terrible meal has been served, the lights have been dimmed, I’ve face-wiped and moisturized and changed into my plane socks and I’m nursing half a Xanax and a whiskey-ginger ale and sitting back in my window seat, always the window seat, looking out at what usually is the last little bit of sun setting. It’s a contentedness that I don’t experience often, but I’m feeling it now except now the plane is my bed and the whiskey-ginger ale and Xanax are a beer, a tall Hydro Flask of water, a kombucha, and my arsenal of allergy pills and sprays, and maybe a bit of Ativan for bed later. I think the message is, you’ve got everything you need, and you’re precisely where you need to be, and because of this you will be fine."

Thursday, April 30, 2020

COVID-19 report part 2












Thursday, March 26, 2020

John Yau, "After I Turn Sixty-Nine"

I don’t imagine that a chariot is hurrying near but that a sleek car is speeding up
I have started a list of the costumes I want to be buried in, beginning with horny centaur
I try to put aside obituaries but I am unable to do so for very long (maybe ten minutes)
I eat the same meal every night while reading recipes of dishes I have never tasted
I shudder nearly every time I read the phrase “Lifetime Guarantee or Your Money Back.”
I no longer find it necessary to stop and look at what is going on at a construction site
I decide I won’t tell people to stop sending me books even if I will never read them
I stop and watch ambulances trying to get past cars that don’t want to move aside
I begin thinking about different methods I might use to remove myself from the story
I know what my friend meant when he said his dog would take his place on the couch
I think about the cities I will never return to, including Cadaqués and Caracas
I wonder when I will no longer begin a sentence with the words “if” and “when”
I dream that my ashes will be scattered in a remote spot in Ireland that no one visits
I admit that shrinking into myself is not as unpleasant as I once thought

Monday, March 23, 2020

I spent the entire weekend thinking about this walrus


It's possible I've never loved anything more

Sunday, March 15, 2020

COVID-19 report












The devil, probably


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

You, yesterday’s boy, to whom confusion came

I keep seeing this, from Rilke's "To the Younger Brother," floating around:
Then suddenly you’re left all alone
with your body that can’t love you
and your will that can’t save you.
...and I would like everyone to know that this poem is about masturbation

Rain in Los Angeles this week and I couldn't be happier


Flash & the Pan, "Walking in the Rain"

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Stop! Look! And Sing Songs of Revolutions!

"Track A - Solo Dancer"

I've been listening to jazz again. Maybe because I'm getting older. My dad's jazz records and my mom's dancehall tapes were practically all I listened to until I got to middle school. Most of the jazz my dad played was trumpet-focused, being a trumpet player himself. Fellow Angeleno (sorry) Mingus I found on my own, having had my own bassist dreams deferred at age six, told by a music teacher that I was too small for even the 1/4 sized bass. I studied violin instead. I still think - why not cello? Mingus played cello. "You're black," a friend told him when he was seventeen. "You'll never make it in classical music no matter how good you are. You want to play, you gotta play a Negro instrument." And so he picked up the bass.

For The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Mingus asked his psychologist to provide liner notes for the album.
When Mr. Mingus first asked me to write a review of the music he composed for this record, I was astonished and told him so. I said I thought I was competent enough as a psychologist but that my interest in music was only average and without any technical background. Mr. Mingus laughed and said he didn't care, that if I heard his music I'd understand. This is the uniqueness of this man: he jolts with the unexpected and the new. He has something to say and he will use every resource to interpret his messages. After all, why not have a psychologist try to interpret the projections of a composer musician? Psychologists interpret behavior and/or ideas communicated by words and behavior - why not apply this skill to music? It's certainly a refreshing approach that Mr. Mingus suggests.

As Nat Hentoff has stated, "Mingus is ingenuous," ever growing, looking for change and ways to communicate his life experiences, his awareness and feelings of himself and life. His early and late life sufferings as a person and as a black man were surely enough to cause sour bitterness, hate, distortions and withdrawal. Yet, Mr. Mingus never has given up. From every experience such as a conviction for assault or as an inmate of a Bellevue locked ward, Mr. Mingus has learned something and has stated it will not happen again to him. He is painfully aware of his feelings and he wants desperately to heal them. He also is cognizant of a power dominated and segregated society's impact upon the underdog, the underprivileged and the minority. Inarticulate in words, he is gifted in musical expression which he constantly uses to articulate what he perceives, knows and feels.

To me this particular composition contains Mr. Mingus' personal and also a social message. He feels intensively. He tries to tell people he is in great pain and anguish because he loves. He cannot accept that he is alone, all by himself; he wants to love and be loved. His music is a call for acceptance, respect, love, understanding, fellowship, freedom - a plea to change the evil in man and to end hatred. The titles of this composition suggest the plight of the black man and a plea to the white man to be aware.

He seems to state that the black man is not alone but all mankind must unite in revolution against any society that restricts freedom and human rights.

In all three tracks of Side I there are recurrent themes of loneliness, separateness and tearful depression. One feels deeply for the tears of Mr. Mingus that fall for himself and man. There can be no question that he is the Black Saint who suffers for his sins and those of mankind as he reflects his deeply religious philosophy. His music tells of his deep yearning for love, peace and freedom. A new note has crept into his music. Where once there was a great anger now one can hear hope. As with much of his past music, Mr. Mingus cries of misunderstanding of self and people. Throughout he presents a brooding, moaning intensity about prejudice, hate and persecution.

In the first track of Side I there is heard a solo voice expressed by the alto saxophone - a voice calling to others and saying "I am alone, please, please join me!" The deep mourning and tears of loneliness are echoed and re-echoed by the instruments in Mr. Mingus' attempt to express his feelings about separation from and among the discordant people of the world. The suffering is terrible to hear.

In track B, the music starts with a tender theme. It is a duet dance song in which many emotions of relatedness are expressed - warmth, tenderness, passion. The music then changes into a mood of what I would call mounting restless agitation and anguish as if there is tremendous conflict between love and hate. This is climaxed by the piercing cries of the trombone and answering saxophones as if saying the "I" of personal identity must be achieved and accepted.

Track C begins with the happiest of themes. Here Mr. Mingus himself plays a classical piano reverie backed by a lyrical flute and cymbals. It is sweet and soft and has a lightness rarely seen in Mr. Mingus’ music. But once again the music shifts into a tonal despair and brooding anguish. The theme suggested by the title is the peace and happiness of the free person contrasted with the pain and tears of the black man. Mr. Mingus uses many forms of technique and instrumentation to reflect his meaning. He told me his use of the Spanish guitar was meant to mirror the period of the Spanish Inquisition and El Greco’s mood of oppressive poverty and death.

Side II develops all these themes in a very carefully worked out musical composition in concert style, repeating and integrating harmony and disharmony, peace and disquiet, and love and hate. The ending seem unfinished but one is left with a feeling of hope and even a promise of future joy.

Mr. Mingus thinks this is his best record. It may very well be his best to date for his present stage of development as other records were in his past. It must be emphasized that Mr. Mingus is not yet complete. He is still in a process of change and personal development. Hopefully the integration in society will keep pace with his. One must continue to expect more surprises from him.

Edmund Pollock, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist 
"Medley: Mode D - Trio and Group Dancers
Mode E - Single Solos and Group Dance
Mode F - Group and Solo Dance"

© CLUB SANDWICH
Maira Gall