Posts Tagged Shostakovich

NaNo Etude 6 – Essay Time, Ha Ha

Today, all of the goo came pouring down through the top of my head. It became friendly with my throat. These moments when the dust floats off the blinds, the ear buds are blasting my brain, and my brain goes away. Far away. I want to write words that make people feel the way I feel when I hear my favorite music. This is what I want, keep wanting, want more than anything, and if I found it, I’d quit everything else and write, write, write for the rest of my days.

Stupid ass.

Words are limited, intentionally limited. Words aren’t meant to represent the spiritual. They can only point to the spiritual, and if you asked me to point to something spiritual, I would look at you with screwed-up eyebrows.

My hero said that fiction should be about what it’s like to fucking live. I love that inclination, especially for the 21st Century, but I will never be capable of doing what he did. Should I try? I suppose. It gives me a sense of purpose, but that goo tells me that I’m fooling myself. I’ve been fooling myself for decades. I feel as though I can do it, but it won’t come out. It’s stuck in the goo, the green goo of a stupid ass.


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Freddy Is Sick – Section 6

You think we will never get Freddy out of his car, that his tortuous commute will never end, and that is what Freddy thinks every morning. Early mornings, it seems so smooth as if people are staying away from the highway so Freddy can have a smooth start to the day, but even then, sometimes he worries that the commute will never end. Freddy thinks he knows eternity. Eternity is worse on the way home.

Coming down 12th, Freddy will look at his car clock, two blocks before he gets to his terminus of layers and layers of concrete slab ready to collapse, and he will be amazed every time. It’s usually 20 minutes or 21 minutes. Such a short amount of time, but Freddy knows it is eternity. The bottom of the earth crawls around in his feet. The pressure on the braking makes him nervous during a majority of his descent to the bottom of the earth, and he wonders what is grinding away when he feels some sort of diminishing screeching of fur balls with ice of the metals.

Today, Freddy realizes that the world and all of the timeline that he perceives is a giant piece of music. He is stuck with defining his existence – Is he sporadic parts of the score, notes here and there with embellishing instructions on how he should be played, or is he an instrument, dutifully playing all of those notes, to the best of his ability, never perfectly, but good music cannot be perfect.

Being a portion of the notes of this massive, perhaps bombastic creation has a certain fatalistic feel to it. Freddy has no elective options in the mess. He is done by one instrument and then done by another, and the fascination is the resulting harmony of how he fits, perhaps sweetly, but likely not so sweetly because this, after all, is a bombastic creation. The rhythm is directed from the unknowable, the unseen source, and so Freddy bounces from this to that, spastic, manically, as if the events have the dotted, staccato markings, where no understanding is possible because the stay is so short, driven by a sense of time that is brutally harsh and frankly unfair, those notes that are heard in complex harmonies that are merely meant to aggravate in order for the listener to strongly desire that the music move forward in some perdurable fashion.

However this progresses, we know that even the indefatigable requires rest. This piece will never end. It seems to be played over and over again with different versions, contrasting like Toscanini vs. von Karajan, but it is sedulous and unending with trillions of layers of musicians from before, like Freddy’s Mother who is demonstrating how one put one’s entire back and shoulders into the most ecstatic chords that Brahms created for the piano, where in certain corners there are pianists who are tireless in their practice of certain phrases from Scarlatti, playing two bars of terribly feisty chords in higher octaves, meant to create tension briefly, being played over and over while a child acts out a sleep in a bed with soaked sheets from a feverish flu, longing to die quickly, but also there are those musicians from the future mixing in with all of these layers.

When it hits those resting spots, Freddy is landed as if in a pot of boiling chicken gizzards squirming and wrapping themselves around him, informing him that when his place is to serve as this note, as this part of the infinite piece, there will be no escape, that perhaps he will be boiling being choked by gizzards forevermore, the languid low D from the ending of a Shostakovich symphony, whereby when Shostakovich seemed interminable, he wasn’t, but Freddy is stuck in the undefinable permanent bottom cycle of depression, one that should allow for compassionate suicide, but Freddy is only this note or that note and here he has landed and is not allowed to die like a natural D would do in artful music – This is the music of life. This is how life is really a monstrous musical score devised by some deviant more hellish than Schoenberg.


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The Congruence of Joy and Despair

Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich (Russian: Дмит...

Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich

In the old days, before the new era, better known as the new life, I would drink too much alcohol whenever I was sad, and I would drink too much whenever I was happy. I was always sad or happy, so you can observe my dilemma. When I look back with honesty, I realize that I was always sad, or never truly happy. I drank to rid my consciousness of despair – a never-ending task. And when I had happiness or some sense of accomplishment or pride, I poured massive amounts of alcohol on it to maintain my state of joy, which always ended the next morning if not far sooner.

Today, I was listening to Shostakovich which is a bit like saying today I got dressed, but it was my first and favorite Shostakovich, the 10th Symphony. This piece is filled with despair with all sorts of glancing touches of hope. (It was meant as a farewell to Stalin after his death, and the portrait of Stalin is particularly poignant in the fury and evil of the second movement. Stalin prevented Shostakovich from creating freely and the 10th is surely a long-awaited response to that state of being. Violations of Stalin’s artistic censorship were always punishable by death and Shostakovich was very close on at least one occasion.)

It occurred to me that I love Shostakovich more than any other composer because he speaks a language that penetrates to the deepest and most vulnerable parts of my soul. I especially love my Shostakovich whenever I am either sad or happy, and I am always sad or happy, so you can observe my dilemma. However, in this case, the dilemma is not killing me or sending me to the insane asylum in the gutters of Brooklyn.

When I am sad, Shostakovich sits with me so I am not alone as I shake my fist at the world. Shostakovich communicated in his music that dreary state of knowing you’re not good enough for the world. When I am happy, I hear in Shostakovich the tremendous victory and gift and blessing of breathing right now, and I hear the knowledge that no matter how far down the scale I’ve gone, I can hope for happiness and hope that there will be moments of joy and happiness other than the one that is felt right this moment.

When I’m listening to the 10th, oh my god, I want to play the clarinet, piccolo, trumpet, or trombone. Oh my god, give me a fucking clarinet! But I never learned any wind instruments, and I can’t learn now because it would not start off sounding perfect, and the imperfect squeals would send me into fits of depression. I do believe I could play the timpani, and yes, I would love to play the timpani or tuba, yes, tuba, with the Chicago Symphony, preferably conducted by Bernard Haitink or perhaps Riccardo Muti, while it plays the richest and most emotional version of the 10th ever to be played while Shostakovich cheers me on in a deeply happy sate but with a fairly dark frown on his face and his heavy-framed glasses blocking view of the fire of his spirit coming out of his eyes.

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Give Me a Slow, Driving Seven

You know it.
Three followed by two.
Several times.
Stepping in a field with rattle snakes.
Bring a club.

Left first,
toes first.
Right stretch,
heel first.
Open ears.
The eyes crawl,
knowing they are easily deceived.
Three by two.
Drive, drive, drive.
Blow your stack.
Three by two.

The more perfect
two by two by three.
One two. One two.
One two three.
Lift gently.
Watch for snakes.

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Russian Music for My Heart

Sing-song, chip, splendid
town street, a black tall top hat.
Perfect gray, fifties
black top, ornate curly wood
then dance stops loud, anger starts.


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Shostakovich 4

Eyes move in jerky, rapid jolts,

As a cat jumping through the wall,

The incessant pounding inspiring,


Head shakes madly,

Neck hurts,

Hands triumphant,

(Co-workers worried,

What did I have for lunch?

What type of psychosis

Is hooked into my ears?)

Waving loudly and

Conducting brilliantly, Read the rest of this entry »

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Searching With Repeating Synergies

I listen to my favorite music over and over and over again.  If I stand back to observe my listening patterns, I might determine that I am grotesquely obsessed and perhaps insane.

This observance has occurred repeatedly over my entire life, but yesterday morning I was a particularly harsh critic.  In the car CD player (it’s an old-fashioned one that only holds one disc, which perhaps points to a laziness as explanation for what is to be described) was the Nine Black Alps CD.  I saw these guys with my friend TK.  TK goes to a bazillion rock and pop concerts and once in a while I tag along.  We saw them in a bar for a $10 show with maybe 50 people in the crowd.  They played all of the music from the CD much faster so the entire show was one big adrenaline rush.  They were incredibly talented and mechanically perfect, or tight as we like to say.  Afterwards, we met them and bought a CD for $7.  I’ll never forget how wasted those guys were.  This was after I had quit drinking so I was punch-hyped on Diet Coke, but man oh man, those guys were wasted, and I remember wondering Read the rest of this entry »

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Supervising a Grand Beauty

I promised I would not blab too much about music on this new blog, but I was listening to Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony today and I feel compelled to share.  Sometimes I wonder why Shostakovich does not have a Bach or Mozart stature yet, but then I realize that there is probably a crazy and insane part of me that identifies with the spirituality of Shostakovich and not everyone is insane enough to pick up on that quality.  Here I am, peddling Shostakovich again, or maybe I am just defending the emotional feel of leaving the real world that I get with much of his music.

The 7th starts as if someone has jerked open a door to the universe and you are able to fly above with arms spread and you feel Read the rest of this entry »

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The Death of Dreams

Not old but old enough to be dead.

People visit merely to see if I’m dead.

Watching a car wreck not long before the wreck.


Avery Fisher Hall, bigger than all of earth’s atmosphere,

With Ode to Joy blasting away at the darkness of space,

All so tan and so wood-bound, like being within a still heart.

Give me that black block and put me on top and enjoy me.

Allow me to stomp, stomp heavily and wave gloriously.

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