Everyday Music

I love this 5-min video by Serbian multimedia artist Miloš Tomić. Like John Cage, he hears the music in everyday life. What to some might be an annoying racket is transformed into a celebration of banging, clanging, guitar tuning, and impishly drumming on every dang thing in site. Check it out here.

Linger, Renee

O my foregone conclusions, O my
ache of Spain, you’re gone
lay me low old Queen Coal: I thought
you would linger, Renee. Face
darkens under skies torn asunder,
I wear your foot-a-bed stockings
like a lace bandage and sniff
at the rain as it begins to fall.

Bayard St., San Diego, c. 1987

Joe Cocker, Out on a Beer Run

Sometime in the mid-1980s, Don Colvin (1960-2014) sent me this poem. I’ve given it a title and, because Don wrote in an architectural all caps hand, used lower and uppercase in the idiosyncratic way I think he would have liked. On the back of the sheet of computer-printer paper he wrote, “If you publish please refine, rewrite, and edit freely.”

Joe Cocker, Out on a Beer Run

by Donald Colvin, Jr.

It feels like I want to write like the singing

Star Joe Cocker’s yogurt-like, satiric-commemorative, residual latex type rendition of: Consequence, the Remaining Imbalance. Never, Have I heard of that.

I’m sure about one thing about Joe Cocker, that I cannot share.

No other time ago, the Poems were gone. None had been seen or heard from in some time.

The people (Poems) could not stand still for this. They cried out, “We must find them!” And went about it.

It started, well, like a scream, knowing all along that it would be like a scream, but all the while pretending to be one. It wasn’t a scream at all. I twas a force we resist, and stare at each other for. A force we have, still.

The colors streaked past the frightened faces, repelled by their acknowledging expressions, free to soar past in a glancing represent sweep.

“Love to!” The Shrieked and Sped by the mirror of a local sunset.

It feels like Joe Cocker came by, while I was making a beer run. It isn’t the same as when I left.

Linda Marie Cordell and Don Colvin, Jr. together in my notebook c. 1981

My lover, Linda, and my brother, Don Colvin, are both dead these years now. But I just discovered this! I’m pretty sure the initials “L.D.M.” are for Linda Don Colvin. This pen sketch, then, c. 1981 in an old notebook of my horoscopes and songs, is, I think, a marriage of Don’s and Linda’s vision of “A Place We Might Like to Live.” Something the three of us, close as thieves, thin as a Bose-Einsteins condensate, chewed on constantly.

“a quiet place in the country we might like to live” by (?) Don Colvin, Jr. with additions by Linda Marie Macartea-Cordell, c. 1981, Riverside or Highland, Calif. Or Maybe Yucca Valley, or Yucca Mesa….

Post-humanism, “Black Betty” writes a novel?

In my last post, I wrote about a cool short story by Nisi Shawl. It’s written from a dog’s point of view but, as I say, retains the cognitive center of a human. Not surprising at all because, again, to repeat myself, Shawl was writing for humans, not dogs.

But what, I wonder, what sort of story would a dog (or any other animal) tell? Would we recognize that telling as a story? Put another way, could a human truly write from an animal’s point of view? Is it possible to decenter the human in favor of an animal’s consciousness?

The question is framed up nicely by Jane Rawson in a LitHub piece:

But how would you even go about writing a novel from an animal’s perspective? There has been a lot of discussion lately about whether authors have the right to write from the perspective of people different to themselves, and those who argue yes generally emphasize how important it is to do your research, to understand the community, the history, the thoughts and feelings of your protagonists. But do we even have any idea what animals know, think and feel?

It’s a question most of us have asked ourselves, particularly in relation to the animals we raise for food. How much do cows suffer when we slaughter them? Do fish feel fear when they’re pulled from the water? Does it matter?

Rawson is arguing in this piece that the only way to save animals from extinction is by considering them as persons, as individuals. She writes:

When we think of animals as a species rather than as individuals, not every rhino death is equal. The last one has to carry the full weight of our self-involved concern.

But for the northern white rhinos themselves, the death of the last male was no more traumatic than the deaths that came before. Potentially, it was less traumatic, in fact. Sudan, as we knew him, died at 45—the upper end of rhino life expectancy—from old age. You might call it a good innings. He died surrounded by those who loved him—his keepers—though sadly without much comfort from other rhinos. Most northern white rhinos over the past few centuries, on the other hand, died in horrible circumstances, forced from their homes and killed for their horns. They passed unmourned on Facebook.

I’m not sure where to take this, but the Rawson piece is worth reading. Plus, yay, she quotes Richard Powers, the author of The Overstory, my favorite book of 2018 (and one of my favorites ever), and that seems to be a good place to leave this:

“Every form of mental despair and terror and incapacity in modern life seems to be related in some way to this complete alienation from everything else alive. We’re deeply, existentially lonely.”