Our language

I overlook the green garden
The wind is almost invisible
A sheep is bleating, nearby

Look at the evolution of
Our language, she is layered
She is a flight
And a hiding place
Some people make it

The green garden doesn’t make it
The wind doesn’t make it
The sheep doesn’t make it

Our language was originally published on Meandering home

Music as a universal language

We often hear people say that language is a universal language, and we like to uncritically accept such assessment. I thought today of polishing up that metaphor a little. Why don’t we consider music as a language family, like the Niger-Congo, Austranesian, Sino-Tibetan, Afro-Asiatic or Indo-European language families.

Communication between speakers of different languages of such families can be difficult and will resort to other than linguistic means, such as gestures and facial expressions. Consider for example that Russian, Punjabi and French are all Indo-European languages, but if a Russian, Frenchman and Punjabi walk in a bar, they aren’t likely to celebrate their newfound camaraderie with an intellectual conversation. Yet, they might get along well. The way they understand each other shows the universality of human language. It is apparent in the ease with which we intuitively understand the intention of a tender lullaby or a fierce insult, a cheerful invitation to drink or a disapproving grin.

I compare this to different genres in music. So what is a better place to test the thesis that music is a universal language than musical cross-overs, collaborations between musicians with completely different backgrounds (like jazz and baroque) or interpretations of music from the ears of another genre?

I have compiled a list of a few of these musical collaborations and would love to know your thoughts and additions!

Music as a universal language was originally published on Meandering home


Now that I am lowered into my trench language
I become an invocation. I am muscles and tendons,
a pressurized blood machine, slowly releasing
what was stored between the apostrophes, like a captured animal.
I am a cormorant of the apocalypse, a confessing nihilist.
Opinions grow on me like frozen waterfalls.
My rage is inculcated, like a laminated smile, I visit
bars barracks and barricades, I lick soft dew in the marches,
I piss glum images in morning prose, I kneel for a working prostate.
Father forgive me my reflection on the holy crotch, for it is not authentic.
Authenticity my friends is the leftover moral we shall heat up and re-eat,
do you hear me? There is authenticity in the original orgasm, and in origami,
in bullet holes and butterscotch, in old ladies staring at a cross,
in cutting onions and Birkenstocks, in traffic jams and coins that toss.
It is time to stand up, to dust the language off my suit.
Surrounding me is a great plain and I feel life again is gaining.

Growl was originally published on Meandering home

Oh Queen of Macedonia

Oh Queen of Macedonia we are the symptoms of a molecular joke, so will you dance me the mad dance again with the rage in your flaming hair, the dance you danced that night in the heartened dark behind the market? Will you trace the wild measures until they glow stiff, trapped in the teem of your world because my love there is no dance without words, only movement.

There is no without a beginning; we happen beyond the spell of our primate metaphysics, oh Queen of Macedonia, we are mistral ventures rippling across the hottening sand. We sheath each other in the world like this, setting suns over its asphaltic veins and smelting a farewell to the reckoning who enjoyced this, who is not mad for lack of lack, who is not afraid to reinvent everything for the mild embedded illness that we are.

Reality is repetition, the cavernous gesture we make at each other when we are not sleeping. There is a mild curiosity in its echo mustaching the promise of endless spacing, the glimpsing of a fish world to inhabit. In defiance we hew cobblestone streets helixing the tower of Babel, to the disoxygenated heights where memories lie dying, where we abet the master’s language lest she stales our thoughts away. We Rorschach the paladins in stony rows and plot the consciousness of the king who absented himself in premature nocturia. We offer Him prayment with the folding of our hands.

Oh mather now your night has fallen, you once nocturned me and weaned me curious. I derelish the womby presense you had of me, so let the old skippers bid their good-byes to you in their evening rags, and let me not speak out the palimpsest that I carry on my aching palate. Whence it winnows in my dreams, I am drawing a plow over barren land and sow, and sow

our storyness grows, like layers of ice upon ice assailed by dancing feet. Ten years ago I was squirreling, raincoated for the thaw of your forgotten smiles, I was a curfewed Thales sandaling away the starry evenings. Oh Queen of Macedonia, do you feel the weight of Dionysos underneath the breadth of your orgasm? You compassed all of my world in me so I implore you, Sistercian, my sweet sorella, speak to me.

Oh Queen of Macedonia was originally published on Meandering home

What is context?

I asked Miru what 배 ‘bae’ and 눈 ‘nun’ means. She says ‘pear’ and ‘snow’. But in Korean, bae also means boat and nun also means eye. I tell her that it depends on the context. Context is the concept I want to explain to her today.
“Papa what is that, context?”
-“Context is a story. It is the story you are in.”
“What story?”
-“For example, I say it is a cold day and there is a lot of nun.”
“That is a short story.”
-“A context-story can be short. What does nun mean here?”
-“And when I say grandfather is looking for his glasses because his nun is not so good any more?”
-“Exactly. So you know what context is.”

Why am I sharing this? I believe there are some very useful concepts that are generally not taught to children. I already explained her what an oxymoron is. Next up will be paradox, irony, justice, equality, compatibility, intentionality, relativism. Any suggestions?

What is context? was originally published on Meandering home

Reading: Winged And Acid Dark by Robert Hass

Robert Hass (b. 1941) is another famous American poet who served as Poet Laureate of that immense country and won a Pulitzer prize. I read one of his poems today that I think is representative. In other words: vintage Hass:

Winged and acid dark
A sentence with “dappled shadow” in it.
Something not sayable
spurting from the morning silence,
secret as a thrush.

The other man, the officer, who brought onions
and wine and sacks of flour,
the major with the swollen knee,
wanted intelligent conversation afterward.
Having no choice, she provided that, too.

Potsdamerplatz, May 1945.

When the first one was through he pried her mouth open.
Bashō told Rensetsu to avoid sensational materials.
If the horror of the world were the truth of the world,
he said, there would be no one to say it
and no one to say it to.
I think he recommended describing the slightly frenzied
swarming of insects near a waterfall.

Pried her mouth open and spit in it.
We pass these things on,
probably, because we are what we can imagine.

Something not sayable in the morning silence.
The mind hungering after likenesses. “Tender sky,” etc.,
curves the swallows trace in air.

Hass observes the limitations of language before giving us an incomprehensive fragment. Who is the other man and what about the supplies, the wounded major wanting conversation, and why did she have no choice? In the next sentence, the entire scene becomes clear. Potsdamerplatz, May 1945. Hitler is dead, his Reich has surrendered. The officer and the man are allied forces, making themselves comfortable on the rubble of Berlin. Wine and conversation, what more does a man need?

What about the prying open of the mouth? Looking for gold crowns? And why the Japanese names? The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings occured on August 6 and 9, 1945. Do the frenzied swarming of the insects near a waterfall refer to the nuclear event? I try to imagine, but I fail to understand why they spit in the woman’s mouth. You?

Hass seems to agree with me. He returns to the sayableness of tender sky and the curves we so easily imagine after swallows. This poem is a smart and gripping way of denoting what is unsayable about the war, and the fact that I might have completely missed what that unsayable thing is, well, that is precisely the point.

Reading: Winged And Acid Dark by Robert Hass was originally published on Meandering home