Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Golem Vs. DuendeThe 23rd album by Salon de la Guerre is now available in the racks of the virtual music stores of the world.

Golem Vs. Duende is my attempt to make a collage of music from environmental sounds. It’s also my attempt to show my appreciation for the microtonal music of Harry Partch while acknowledging that his music was precisely notated, and mine is not. In fact, my samples of found sounds–from my house, from wooden fences, from the New York City subway–are spontaneously created and probably more resemble the minimalism of John Cage, whom Partch hated. They were, after all, pursuing two completely different approaches. Who wants to be lumped together with their aesthetic enemies?

Also, I have not abandoned the 12-tone chromatic scale in my music, and I’d shudder to think of what Partch himself might make of me citing him as an influence. He’d probably call me a hapless poseur and beat me senseless with one of his homemade instruments.

So this new work is modernist classical–and it’s not. I hope it’s challenging but also fun. I hope it has depth but is not boring. I hope it informs the rock and pop and country albums I plan to keep making in the future. While I wish Salon de la Guerre had more listeners (and think a lot of you who aren’t hearing my more radio-friendly songs are missing out), I’m also happy to have the kind of obscurity that allows me to do whatever the hell I want with music for the time being. Because the weird stuff helps me make breakthroughs with the rocking stuff. I am currently on the same page with my small group of listeners in at least one respect: We have no expectations.

You can find Golem Vs. Duende on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube and Bandcamp. Here’s a sample:

If I were a child and you were the sea

I’d find a place for my ankles in you

And my hands and my curiosity

And you would rise up

With warm and sandy love

Rise up to my knees and then rise above

And I would find depth

For my shoulders and chest

And my neck and my mouth and my teeth and the rest

And when I knew you were faithfully cold

I’d give you my heat while the water takes hold

The ocean’s chilling black and the vast shipping lanes

Cut for all ships, squids, roaring seaplanes

I give to the sea all my hair and my hips

Give love in more ways than through just two soft lips

And you don’t have to cry for all the things we now share

Love in its ocean, joys, blood, toil, despair

Ghost and Hemispheres Cover Vol. 2The following is an excerpt from my novel, The Ghost and the Hemispheres, Volume 2, currently available as an e-book on Amazon.com.

As the students watched TV in the University Club, for the first time, Patroclus noticed that some 95% of the content came from the United States. There was Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, two television shows about wives possessed of magical powers, but rather than using the magic to free themselves from sexual slavery, penury and exploitation, the women instead served the monetary interests of their human slaveholder husbands. All they would have had to do was snap their fingers and their masters’ heads would have popped off like champagne corks, but instead they were alienated from that head-ripping-off potential by the awesome power of ideological hegemony. There was also Bonanza, a serial that humanized and normalized the rape of the American West by white expansion and subjugation (and let us not forget the dialogue wasn’t too bad).

When he sought reading material from the Balladares Pharmacy he found Time and Cosmo and Reader’s Digest and the Saturday Evening Post. He found pictures of a woman draped over a box of Pall Mall Gold 100’s, claiming that “You make out better at both ends.” A Lipton tea ad asking him if he was feeling “fagged.” Delco “Pleasurizer” shock absorbers for a better ride. “Husband pleasing” coffee. Sugar, which “turned into energy faster than any other food.” A car called a “Swinger.” White go-go boots. Half-nude bodies used to sell aspirin, women in suggestive siren poses meant to sell Pepsi. Pills for “tired blood” and women’s anxiety. He studied the cola and beer advertisements with deep post-structuralist curiosity.

The more girls buzzed about him, trying to confuse him, get his attention, diffuse his energy, raise his sap, get his blood up, dilute his prana, etc., the more Patroclus began to read from the books that Father Cuadra suggested: Hegel, Marx, Paulo Freire, Antonio Gramsci and Chairman Mao, and then finally, the book about the Crazy Little Army—Augusto César Sandino and his war in the Segovias. That war had taken place around Patroclus’s hometown. Yet nobody up there ever talked about Sandino. It was verboten. Like other young proto-revolutionaries, Patroclus also read Che Guevara and listened to the recordings of Radio Rebelde.

Every new Marxist walks about with a different set of eyes from the ones he had before. Everywhere Patroclus now saw things differently. One day he was out with Rosemarie and she asked him, “Should I get the chocolate-covered cherries or the chocolates with nothing in them?”

“Your choice is an illusion of freedom.”

She pinched his cheek.

“Cute.”

“I’m serious. This is meaningless.”

“What are you saying, exactly, when you say this is meaningless?”

“I want to see other girls.”

She started to cry and he stood listening with a stone face, knowing he must take responsibility for the pain he had caused her, but also willing to live with it for the sake of his new conviction, which required pain if it were to be genuine—his girlfriend’s pain if necessary.

All the material wealth he saw others chasing convinced Patroclus that he somehow did not really live in the world at all—or at least that he was living in more dimensions than he was seeing. Those advertisements, those nude bodies, those TV shows made him realize that his heart and body had been colonized. That every move he made was the act of a puppet dancing on a string. As he sat in the hot, dusty railroad colonial corridors of his dorm studying his medical books, dust motes flowed sideways and down and from off the floor—in a space without gravity. Every song, every coo of every silly coquette—everything was fabricated, he realized, to hide the truth of things. A woman once raised her finger to Patroclus to argue with him after she had shortchanged him at the pharmacy. He stopped listening to her and regarded her finger. As it rose, it also fell, and went sideways at the same time. Her voice was high and low at the same time. They were speaking a script somebody else had written for them. They had divided themselves to keep the owners in power.

His life was now seen in a kaleidoscope. And the more he was at odds with reality, the more he saw proof of his other self emerging.

Photo by Eric R. Rasmussen

Discovery Channel
Zoologists ask what birds would do with human arms. Answer: Just what humans do. Subjugate others.

Netflix
Watch these documentaries now before we find out their subjects committed multiple acts of sexual assault.

CNN
“Don Lemon Can’t Believe What He’s Hearing,” followed by “Anderson Cooper: Everything’s Ludicrous.”

HBO
“Entourage” now opens with a featurette by Susan Faludi that explains its historical context.

Fox News
Why Whites Wearing Surgical Masks Is Tyranny, While Stopping and Frisking Black People Is OK

Paramount Network
“Cops” opens with a featurette explaining its historical context two months ago.

MTV
“Catfish”: This love thing might be an illusion. Also, you’re dating someone online with a fake profile.

CNN Money
Love is an illusion but I’m forwarding my credit card numbers to a guy I met online anyway.

Bravo
The Manscapers of “Backyard Envy” really ought to be imagining this outdoor space as being full of quarantine tents.

Bravo
Are they really “The Real Housewives of Manhattan” if they have fled the pandemic and aren’t here to fill out their census forms for important tax and political redistricting purposes?

Bravo
The Real Housewives Remote After the After Show Show

Bravo
Cash Cab: If you stay in the cab, you can win $300 and expose someone in the service industry to a deadly pathogen.

Vh-1
Black Ink Compton Crew: If you can’t write something nice on your body, best not to write anything at all.

PBS
An old “Crossfire” featuring Mojo Nixon arguing with Pat Buchanan about dirty song lyrics makes us wistfully remember when the left wing liked freedom of speech.

Scopes

When my friend had

His first child, he said

“Now I believe in God!”

“How can you not

believe

When you first look

Into his eyes

Upon the miracle of his life?

The miracle

That is your baby?

“How can you not believe?”

 

When I had my child

And I watched him crawl

Watched him stoop and learn to walk,

When I saw my son bend his knees

And hunch over

To pick up his first apple

I thought,

“Holy Christ!

“We’re fucking apes!”

 

 

When he told them whom to hate

He gave them permission to hate.

When he gave them permission to hate

He gave them permission to feel.

When he gave them permission to feel

They loved him.

Loved him so much. Oh so much.

And then he had them by the soul.

And he could do with those souls what he wanted.

I have never said my piece

To strong men and to kings

And my eyes they sweep the ground

When their tragedies are unwound

And the tragedy is how they’ve ruined little things

 

You dress up in red lipstick

For a date with providence

And every set of eyes is a possible expense

Every new set of arms a residence

But passion turns to violence

And you pin your hope to wings

The tragedy’s the same

they’ve ruined little things

 

And a weak little man stands

In the corner doing what he can

Helpless to stop brutality

Not ever good for you or me

And soon it comes as sure as if he had the flu

He comes to love his abuser too

 

And as sure as he’s helpless

The boy he learns to sing

Anther lament of a life ill spent

They’ve ruined little things

 

 

The Plague

You have your bulky joy

You wear your youth like yarn

Piss mordant till you dye

It keeps your skin from harm

 

The smoke was once alive

In yellow plaster’s pores

Nostalgic from the wounds

Love has too many sores

 

And when the plague it came

We measured its hours too

The worst things about man

Turned out to be virtues

 

We once invented need

In the pre-pandemic dens

Like strangers on TV

We see ourselves back then

 

A life force is absorbed

In the city’s coming squall

This is how you love now

If you can love at all