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I saw a bird / in distress *** The gesture / felt empty *** Even a long day / seems too long *** The tension / of that wire

Friday, July 22, 2016


"Gangsters arriving in cars always arrive from elsewhere"

Bad Poem

One exercise is to write the worst possible poem. This gets you unstuck a bit. You have to resist the temptation of writing it too well or even too badly. It's difficult to explain, because you're not writing a poem that is hilariously bad in every way, but one that might be almost someone else's idea of a way to write a poem.

The idea is to jar something open that wasn't open yet. If you say it's a deliberate attempt to be bad nobody can criticize it. It might even have something accidentally good in it or at least point in that direction.

I associate bad poems with similes, with long shapeless lines & arbitrary enjambments, and with inert language, so here goes:

My Mind

My mind is an interesting place to live—more than yours,
I think. But saying it like that makes it less true. Not just the dumb bragadoccio of it, but

the ignorance. I’ve never been in anyone else’s mind! What’s yours like? Mine
is uncomfortable, choppy like choppy seas, but at the same time arid. What smells

are in your mind? Is it a theater, a living room, or a clearing in the woods?
Is it dark in there? Is it damp and sticky like mine, or does it get ventilation?

Has it been cleaned out recently? Has it been graced with a new idea? Also,
living in a mind is a small, sad thing, I think. Everything there is a goddamn metaphor for

the physical world where we really have to live. That is not so interesting,
is it? That lack of materiality, like a soup in a dream that has no actual taste.

Thinking myself superior to someone else because my mind is more interesting is
garbage. Just because it has some fragments of music that you are probably hearing too…

Other Blog

I'm posting on another blog my introduction to poetry. It's a private blog so to read it you'll have to be added as an author. Just let me know your email and I will add you.

Every Friday there will be something new to read. I welcome your comments.

My reasons for going private here are various. I don't want to write the book on a blog and then have it not be original content when I publish it. I don't want my ideas to be stolen, etc...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Je ne regrette rien

I don't regret any of my musical pursuits. I do regret that I did not pursue some of them earlier and more seriously, that I let my doubts get in the way, or that I did not see connections quickly enough, or the importance of what I was doing (for myself.)

The Illusion of a lack of progress

I found myself thinking that my piano playing and composing skills had hardly improved at all in a year. This is far from true. Last year, I didn't even have the idea of composing a song and I could hardly play at all. Now I've written 15 songs or so and can play some of them fluently.

What gives?

Things that are easy for me, I can't imagine being difficult, even though I know that there were. I take for granted what I can do and don't think of it as being skillful. Say I can reach for a B7 chord with my eyes closed without thinking about it or what notes it has. Well, anyone can do that, right? It's obvious what that chord is.

Secondly, I tend to hit plateaux, so I don't notice improvement on a daily or weekly basis. Then all of a sudden I will be better, but then I just adjust to that level as the new normal.

Thirdly, I have so much further to go, that what I can't do seems more significant, so I can easily discount my progress. I will some day hit a plateau where I won't improve at all without taking lessons or changing my approach to practicing to target specific skills.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

things I did yesterday

Played piano at Beth’s house
Drank coffee three different places
Forgot my clothes at the gym and had to go back
Cooked salmon and squash and got too hot

Monday, July 18, 2016

Every time I read this novel, the same characters die.