Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Non Change

listening to 88.1 KKJZ
I heard a cover of Leon Russell's
also covered by George Benson;
an album my dad had when I was a kid;
an album that was played a lot in our house
for some reason.
So I was familiar, very familiar
with the chord progression
It's one of those songs that is just in me.
I heard the sax player go through the melody
simply and recognizably
and after he had done that a couple of rounds,
you can hear the shift take place
where the storm comes
And it immediately made me think of Job
what prompts him to say in Job 10:17
"Your forces come upon me wave upon wave"
Rilke said it in his poem "THE MAN WATCHING"

The Man Watching
by Rainer Maria Rilke
I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can't bear without a friend,
I can't love without a sister
The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.
What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
When we win it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestler's sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.
Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

Job got boils all over his body, lost his
possessions, and his children and his animals etc.
But through and because of his trials
there is a part of him that is unaffected,
an anchorage beyond the storm
a place of silence beyond the elements
and the layers of the mind
and he reaches the mindset of peace
anchored in his Higher God Self alone
in Job 40:13
"When the river rages, he is not alarmed"
and that right there is the true guts and origin of jazz
the chord progression being that place of anchorage
and then the improvisation on top the will of GOD
literally jazz mirrors the structure of life
the archetypal structure of the myth
the beginning the middle the end
and it got me thinking about how powerful
music theory is
how powerful it is to be able to feel where the music
is going no matter what is happening
I know this SONG
I know myself
I know this SONG of MYSELF
I know my purpose and where I am headed
and even if Ornette Coleman blasts an avalanche of atonal wizardry
the intelligence of silence
of trust in the invisible structure of music
is guiding the ship.
But then busting out of that anchorage
that necessity of a predetermined structure
or a predetermined melody
moving into the realms of free jazz
where the structure is spontaneous
where Brahman becomes the charioteer of all action
where telepathy fosters the radiance of self sufficiency
like Merce Cunningham and John Cage
collaborating in a state of sheer independence
navigating the storms and flows and harmonizations
while feeling the non-change as the temple and anchorage
like pouring water
into the dark soil of a plant
and seeing the leaves become greener
this is the life of jazz, eternal
based in the trees and soil
in the interaction of the elements
in the divine play of the universe
in ecstasy of its own entropy
dancing with the realm of perfect forms
in the collective abstract
all the way down to the void
that is the nectar
in our hearts
the empty room with no walls
and the best acoustics.

1 comment:

  1. Man, I love that Rilke poem. I've never read that one. Book of Prayers and the Duino Elegies (sp?) are the ones I'm most familiar with. But yes, I never had the kind of experience with poetry that Emily Dickens described in that wonderful quote until I read Rilke. Blew me away.

    I wrote a song years ago adapting a few lines from two of his "Book of Prayers" poems.I'll email it to you.