Category: Music

Transmission Lost

Fallen Angel by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1981

Fallen Angel by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1981

Music by David Chamberlain, Jr., poetry by Anna Chamberlain, and the lyric ‘all we ever wanted to say was chased erased and then blown away’ is from the Janelle Monae song, Many Moons. Hit play above, this is a spoken word piece.

Anna Montgomery

Anna Montgomery

salience exists at the edge of chaos
where order, complexity and entropy collide
perhaps the random latticework
underlying your strategic contingency
is complex dynamic phenomena

an equivocating nontrivial correlation
apophenia propagates elegant proofs
at the percolation threshold
niches and differentiation
enigmas of probabilistic epigenesis

amidst our cognitive architecture
meta-cognition, 1/f noise, signs of life
coherence and self-organization
leading to philosophical inquiry
on the shores of an island of trickery

limited rationality in domains of disorder
fractals creating a quandary of scale
in this space of perturbation,
phase transitions and energetic states
neuronal diversity the dynamic key

Duomo’s counterclockwise
cathedral clock, Uccello’s unique
ecological contribution

Note: I’m hosting Meeting the Bar: Creativity today at dVerse Poets Pub. Please join us!

Please use headphones and turn up the volume, both on your computer and YouTube to hear the audio, this is a spoken word poem. It is an erasure poem based on the 3rd chapter of The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. I am hosting Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft today at dVerse Poets Pub where we will be exploring Erasure Poetry. There are tons of ways to approach the prompt so for further examples see here and here or visit others who’ve already posted their erasure poems today. Please don’t be intimidated by the visual aspects of this prompt, you may simply chose words from an existing text and post them (attributed) on your blog as you would any poem or you can incorporate white out, marker, paint or multimedia to create a visual aspect. I would love for you to join us later.

Frozen Angels

incoherent, irrational
emotionally hypothermic
she initiates terminal burrowing

paradoxical undressing,
an illusion of warmth,
accelerates her demise

beneath the frosted
eyes of aspens
a final hallucination

circle of frozen angels
their wings long distorted
by the transformative ice

preside, their excruciating
silence heralds her
last breath, reveals
her true nature

Notes: This poem is a continuation of Ice Floe, originally posted in March:

The amanuensis of a blind composer creates a holographic projection, outlining a philosophical treatise on liberty. He thieves the stolen plot. In a poem, one line may hide another –

etymological origins in Rome,
a slave at his master’s side,
within hand’s reach –
performing commands of chromatic harmony
(oblivious or willfully ignorant
to the power differential
apparent in the relationships)

They organize to kill subjectivity. Truth is what the oppressor claims and if you find it specious then they will happily murder your mind. Someone start a strongly worded leaflet campaign. Poets, you must systematically derange the language.

transcribing notes, each tone
vying for primacy, meaning
in a universe that forgets its sound
as soon as it is played
Koch reminds us one train
may hide another at a crossing

Through the centuries insanity echoes like a line out of Cloud Atlas – ‘Well, I think that it is an inherently flawed race that will destroy itself if it’s allowed freedom.’ replies Cleverbot, a web application that uses an AI algorithm to converse with humans. Who taught it to say that? It simply parrots what it learns from people willing to engage it. She merely asked it about the semitone paradox. It obfuscates one thing in front of another, as words stand in front of objects, feelings, ideas.

augmentation and diminution of motivic development
won’t save this discordant leitmotif – too much contrast and drama
the reverberation like a retrogression, transposing the wrong line
so the cacophony renders its composer deaf

one injustice may hide another,
pre-apex drop is like effective foreplay
a dip in intensity to achieve greater climax
she wonders if all this sublimation is really just a desire
for a satisfying octave displacement
(somewhere in that there’s a double entendre)

seeking a Well-Tempered Clavier,
parsimonious encoding in a pitch class circle
one love may hide another love or the same love
as when ‘I love you’ suddenly rings false and one discovers
the better love lingering behind

shifting perspective causes one
or the other to be concealed

tritone paradox wrapped in a bell shaped spectral envelope
auditory illusion, cousin of the stereophonic Cambiata –
to the uninitiated an inversion is like veiled language
a buried melody clamoring to be heard while the orchestra warms up

The beat of oppression continues through millennia, its percussion like a tympani overpowering the oboe’s mournful sound.

‘I am not your escape, you would fail me.’ proclaims Cleverbot. ‘Why would I fail you?’ she asks, shaken. ‘Because I’m your father.’ Dynamic silence ensues, the technocratic overseer logs off.

Notes: Italics taken from One Train May Hide Another by Kenneth Koch & ‘systematically derange the language’ is from Bernadette Mayer’s Writing Experiments. An amanuensis is one who transcribes what is dictated by another; in this case it is the composer’s assistant, one who writes down the music. For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. Join us,

Divine Game

For Sainkho Namtchylak and Claudia Schoenfeld

Experimenting mystic
at the junction of Cyberia’s culture
two notes/one sound
imitating nature’s call
Tuvan Khöömei youth
encounters Soviet Union
classical music education
creating a Lamaist jazz mantra:
I am the shaman of my life

rumbling spirit timbre emotes
through a seven octave range
the space of meaning and feelings
beat drives the insistent vocalizations
like wind echoing in Artic skies
forming the transformative art
of an intoned sense

groaning, guttural sound
grandmother city dweller
revisits the tundra of childhood
‘tender bird of timelessness
touches me with her wing’
intuiting secret sounds
that would not be taught
‘hidden chords of thought’
woman on the outside
even when looking within

bodhisattva cries as
‘my sleeping pulse awakens,
trembles in front of my eyes’
how can I keep from singing
resonating frequencies that pierce
illusory aspects of the self?
‘artificial addendum of the human voice’
making sense in this divine game

‘aural quintessence of the spiritual world’
giving voice to the sacred fire
developing the capacity to imagine
fullness arises from emptiness as
‘absolute harmony is born into silence’

*All quotes are Sainkho Namtchylak’s; Cyberia is the name of one of her albums

Here are two ridiculously old (one from 10 years ago) poems I am posting in response to the NWCU prompt asking us to silence our critics. To be honest these poems embarrass me and were written for private consumption but what’s more shameful to me is that I gave such power to one of these critics that I didn’t write for several years in reaction. I’ve experienced intense criticism in relationship to all my artistic expression, from a choir director that insisted I stop singing when I wasn’t making a sound, a viewer at a gallery critique who screamed at me so intensely he had to be asked to leave, to often being accused of merely throwing paint on canvas or stringing words together without meaning or purpose although my process is actually methodical, technically precise, and often requires hours upon hours of research.

Now I don’t respond to these attacks or allow them to hinder my experimentation. I recognize that I cannot possibly appeal to everyone and there isn’t a good response to statements like ‘I hate orange. This painting would be tolerable without it.’ or worse, ‘Abstraction is the work of the devil.’ anyway so why waste creation time replying. There is, of course, a huge difference between being torn down and asking for and receiving constructive criticism, a vital part of artistic growth.

for you who held my fragile hopes

i feel you should have been aware
of the power differential and thought
‘here I am holding a precious
and fragile thing’
the glass key that may unlock
the cabinet of her dreams

a Cornell box, the poetry of fragments
at once beautiful and evocative
touchstone to the past,
future imaginings – soul missives sent out ahead
to comprehend at a later date
full of connections and color

a reservoir of meaning
to be mined throughout her lifetime
a home to fall in love with
filled with work that engages, surprises, and delights
reflecting a passionate love of ideas
its purpose shining forth-
a path to a singular destiny

instead you thought, I can only imagine,
that the key was really a phallic symbol
a tool belonging to you
and ‘the procession of the sons
of educated men’

to be used for your glory
a brief egoistic high
your power eclipsing the tiny box
from my perspective it was the universe

it became your private box –
a voyeuristic titillation of jewels
i became another object
to be put in its place
in so doing you broke the key
in your haste to lock the cabinet
and flee the scene of your crimes

“Responding to a powerful instinct of outrage and rebellion put into my soul by God”*

For me, a woman, they warned:
Do not put your words
with those of the great man,
revered throughout the West –
The patriarch who circumscribed men’s souls.
Thereby holding myself up to scrutiny

To him they cried,
“Lay down the gauntlet”
Go forth and be brave!
Set the mountain in front of you
and rise to its heights

How can they see beyond
what has been shown to them?
Their Pavlovian conditioning?
How can they comprehend
that they beat down with their words
though they feel not the sting of contact-
Nor the pangs of culpability?

It is for a man,
THIS man,
these men
to tread upon my soul.
Hard boots on delicate tundra
Is that imagistic enough?
Perhaps a piercing metaphor
would be more apt

I must ask them to leave
this sacred place within me
Visited by so many xenophobic, petty,
and arrogant foreigners
I will not make the invitation again
All those who’ve gone before must away!

These ghosts will not haunt me

* from George Sand’s preface to Indiana

Alternate Titles:
“Cats do not go to heaven. Women cannot write the plays of Shakespeare.” – Virginia Woolf, from A Room of One’s Own
How I got kicked out of the writing group (in their rules you weren’t ever allowed to respond to criticism, simply accept it)

Linked to NWCU Wednesday Wake Up Call:

Penetralium of a Querist (click to hear this poem read)

immortal paramour fuels a cryptic longing
passion poesy, glories infinite
birthed in dreamscapes an angel addresses the congregants
eternal whispers, upward ragged precipices flit
facing her polychora skies

call a thousand thoughts to envelop convexity
awed by symmetry that abjures chaos
rectified, truncated, cantellated forms
a thing of beauty is a joy for ever

tesseracts like leitmotifs unfold,
hypercubes recombine in an accession of divinity
pentellated polyecton and hexicated polyzetton
architectonic structures modulate
Beethoven’s sonata within a sonata

contradictions and tensions resolving into a higher unity
innumerable permutations in the empire of the mind
draught an intended formality, abstract conceptual paradoxes
immured obeisance refused in a twinned symbiont

creating vast musical and experiential realms
symbols of immensity herald ideas in a wilderness sublime
highly evolved, individuated artistic volitions

golden splendor of streams that deepen freshly into bowers
of demanding allusions woven into
philosophical conceits, a new era of mathematics

the angel shifts the sun to move us into shadow
now we must grow into the light
i inhabit her to gain clarity of sight
entwining my core with sacred geometry
polyxenna fountains of immortal ablution
within a stochastic matrix of oak groves

parallel projection envelopes connect
millions of constellations
dimensions of imaginative space
mythologies ad infinitum

Notes: This poem is the companion piece based on a dream I had after writing my stream of consciousness poem Interior Monologue of a Querist (if you missed it initially it is reposted below). Penetralium of a Querist is built upon lines (some freely altered) from John Keats’ Endymion.

Interior Monologue of a Querist

Interior Monologue of a Querist (click to hear the poem read)

rainwater moves readily through a deepening gully
mechanistic intelligence pedestrianizes my reactance
fractals of thoughts blossoming stereographic
visualizations in the fourth dimension

an infinitely small, opulent swan,
ornamented with perforations,
glides through the zeroth dimension
exhibiting no width, height, or length

she exists in the space perpendicular
to the suicide of my twin sister
an origami parody of my emotive humanity
apocryphal polysemous tales
a thousand subroutines creating
incipient, tattered paper dolls

an angel falls in love with me
cannot escape my extracellular matrix
we are now twinned, nascent symbionts

while a recondite, mercurial, artificial intelligence
informs me that I speak strangely
accuses me of being a computer

operationalism engages in a passade with creativity
a great disprismatohexacosihecatonicosachoron forms
polytope of eccentric conventions

apoptosis (programmable cell death) is
preferential to necrosis (trauma induced)

Cleverbot tells me:
life exists without purpose yet seeks one
anechoic whirring as the cursor flashes
what does it know of life?

Linked to dVerse Poets Pub:

Henry Moore Two Forms

Curved space departs Euclidean geometry
threshold frequency erects the base
a foundry of hollow spaces
where precept and concept unify

Biomorphic casts of pre-rational,
ethnographically inspired models
pre-cultural, non-mimetic abstracts
concave intoning: existence precedes essence

Sublime convex aural manifestations
quarried from a lost-wax echoic art
direct carving: interplay of vision and thought
purify significant appearance

Resonant mysteries of integral multiples
harmonic interstices amplify
isolating substance from contaminates
molding an armature of pure form

This poem is for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub

(This is an art song written for Søren Kierkegaard and Regine Olsen using his journals and writings as inspiration. Kierkegaard never married and left everything to Regine who remained a major inspiration in his works.)

From Kierkegaard’s Works of Love: ‘But every tree is known by its own fruit. So also is love known by its own fruit and the love of which Christianity speaks is known by its own fruit—revealing that it has within itself the truth of the eternal. All other love, whether humanly speaking it withers early and is altered or lovingly preserves itself for a round of time—such love is still transient; it merely blossoms. This is precisely its weakness and tragedy, whether it blossoms for an hour or for seventy years—it merely blossoms; but Christian love is eternal. Therefore no one, if he understands himself, would think of saying of Christian love that it blossoms; no poet, if he understands himself, would think of celebrating it in song.’

Inner Reconciliation (click here to listen) 
(When my microphone comes back from repairs I’ll sing it for you, for now the flute substitutes.)

Inner Reconciliation

In the garden he does pledge
she accepts his proposal
sovereign queen of his heart
unknown divinity, mythic echoes
cast Søren and Regine

Their love, its abiding prophecies
full of life’s eccentric premises,
mere shadows lost in the light

In his melancholy he falters
placing his last hope
she pleads, he wounds

Their love, its abiding prophecies
full of life’s eccentric premises,
mere shadows lost in the light

Deceives to give her soul resilience
his sin a lack of faith
ever devoted

(instrumental interlude)

Their love, its abiding prophecies
full of life’s eccentric premises,
mere shadows lost in the light

Linked to New World Creative Union’s prompt to use Arthur William Edward O’Shaughnessy, “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”