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Tag: John Ashbery

Friday, February 7th

only rock ‘n’ roll

Bo Diddley (AKA Ellas McDaniel, Ellas Otha Bates, 1928-2008), “Hey! Bo Diddley,” “Bo Diddley,” live, Los Angeles, 1965

 

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lagniappe

random sights

this morning, Oak Park, Ill.

*****

reading table

There is still something I’d like to explain,
yet can’t be sure I’m ready yet.
Beside, we’ve done pretty well with the non-sequiturs,
and they by us, don’t you think?

—John Ashbery (1927-2017), from “Hierarchy of the Unexpected”

Saturday, September 9th

Need a break from listening to yourself?

Kaija Saariaho (1952-), Nocturne for solo violin (1994)
Alexi Kenney (violin), live, New York, 2016

 

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lagniappe

reading table

John Ashbery (July 28, 1927-September, 3, 2017)

Whatever we’re dealing with catches us
in mid-reconsideration. It’s beautiful,
my lord, just not made to be repeated,
that’s all.

***

It was a moment, what can I say.

—John Ashbery (1927-), “A Breakfast Radish,” “Domani, Dopodomani” (fragments), Breezeway (2015)

Friday, September 8th

summer in the city

Blink-182, live, Chicago, 8/4/17

 

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lagniappe

reading table

John Ashbery (July 28, 1927-September, 3, 2017)

How little we know,
and when we know it!

*****

We close in on ourselves,
then yelp that the world is awry.

*****

We had macaroni for lunch every day
except Sunday, when a small quail was induced
to be served to us. Why do I tell you these things?
You are not even here.

—”Like A Sentence,” “Tahiti Trot,” “This Room” (fragments)

Thursday, September 7th

another take

Morton Feldman (1927-1986; MCOTD Hall of Fame), Rothko Chapel (1971); Markus Creed (cond.), SWR Vokalensemble (Vocal Ensemble), et al., live, Germany (Cathedral of Speyer, Schwetzinger), 2017

 

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lagniappe

art beat: yesterday, Art Institute of Chicago

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Cup Decorated with the Figure of a Bathing Girl, 1887-88 (Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist, through September 10th)

*****

reading table

John Ashbery (July 28, 1927-September, 3, 2017)

What will it all be like in five years’ time
when you try to remember?

—”For John Clare” (fragment)

Wednesday, September 6th

one of the most absorbing pieces I know

Morton Feldman (1927-1986; MCOTD Hall of Fame), Rothko Chapel (1971); Ensemble Intercontemporain, live, Paris, 2017

 

(Rothko Chapel, located in Houston, reportedly was not damaged by Harvey.)

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lagniappe

reading table

John Ashbery (July 28, 1927-September, 3, 2017)

. . . as though wondering
whether forgetting
The whole thing might not, in the end, be the only solution.

—Soonest Mended (fragment)

*****

random sights

yesterday, Chicago (Columbus Park)

Tuesday, September 5th

soundtrack to a dream

John Luther Adams (1953-), The Light Within (2007); Faculty & Fellows, Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, Mass., 2016

 

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lagniappe

reading table

John Ashbery (July 28, 1927-September, 3, 2017)

The bad news is the ship hasn’t arrived;
the good news is it hasn’t left yet.

—He Who Loves And Runs Away (fragment; Planisphere, 2009)

*****

random sights

this morning, Chicago (Columbus Park)

Monday, September 4th

sounds of Amsterdam

Michael Vatcher, percussion (Angels’ Share, sculpture exhibition, Herbert Nouens; Westerpark, Sculpture Park), 2014

 

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lagniappe

reading table

John Ashbery, July 28, 1927-September, 3, 2017

Alcove (Planisphere, 2009)

Is it possible that spring could be
once more approaching? We forget each time
what a mindless business it is, porous like sleep,
adrift on the horizon, refusing to take sides, “mugwump
of the final hour,” lest an agenda—horrors!—be imputed to it,
and the whole point of its being spring collapse
like a hole dug in sand. It’s breathy, though,
you have to say that for it.

And should further seasons coagulate
into years, like spilled, dried paint, why,
who’s to say we weren’t provident? We indeed
looked out for others as though they mattered, and they,
catching the spirit, came home with us, spent the night
in an alcove from which their breathing could be heard clearly.
But it’s not over yet. Terrible incidents happen
daily. That’s how we get around obstacles.

Saturday, February 11th

If I knew I had a week to live, this is one of the recordings I would want to hear.

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), 24 Preludes
Alfred Cortot (1877-1962), piano, 1933/34


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langiappe

reading table

dizzying, adj. making you feel dizzy. E.g., reading a John Ashbery poem.

Listen to it the way everybody
here was naughty today,
of how broad it is.

Foreign man with an affluent cigar,
he used to live on top of this bed
on the local rails he was so proud of
among the recyclables, this morning,
spouting words that I thought were other.
Yes, and they became addictive. Oh,

make me a boy again! Do something!
But the little candle just stood there,
reflected in its lozenge-shaped mirror.
Maybe that was “something,”
a lithe sentence.

He’s only going to do it for the first time.
It’s snowing hard.

Hand me the orange.

—John Ashbery (1927-), “Just So You’ll Know,” New Yorker, 2/13 & 20/17

Monday, May 30th

Vancouver folkie + iconic Memphis rhythm section.

This should never have worked.

But it does, wonderfully.

Frazey Ford, “September Fields” (Indian Ocean), 2014


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lagniappe

reading table

The climate is pretty.
I wrote everything on it.
That’s the activity where it
gets relatively inauspicious.

***

And you were sitting there
in the night of life. It sure was good.
My favorite desserts were there.
And when they invite you, it’s like an important document
goes missing. I’ll give you an example:
a twelve-year struggle upstate, in
the slick atmosphere of the breakfast room.
It might have gotten stuck in her farthingale.

Otherwise no reply.

—John Ashbery (1927-), “As Someone Who Likes Travel,” fragments (New Yorker, 5/30/16)

To read Ashbery is to read English as a foreign language—which I mean as a compliment.

Friday, May 13th

more Prince

“I Wanna Be Your Lover,” live, Capitol Theatre (Passaic, N.J.), 1982


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lagniappe

reading table

Whatever we’re dealing with catches us
in mid-reconsideration. It’s beautiful,
my lord, just not made to be repeated,
that’s all.

***

It was a moment, what can I say.

—John Ashbery (1927-), Breezeway (2015), fragments (“A Breakfast Radish,” “Domani, Dopodomani”)

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