Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Every Tonal Difference, Every Sound

The Egoslavian birthdayiest month of the year continues: as of this moment, all three posts on the blog's front page are birthday posts. Gyorgy Ligeti was born eighty-six years ago today. As always with me and composers, I love most if not all of a composer's work but always love the solo piano pieces best. Here's Ubuweb's typically generous Ligeti sound page.

Earthgirl and Planet and I had dinner last night with B, the young woman who stayed at our house when moving to DC for a new job while looking for an apartment who has become not only our cat-sitter but our friend. The combined ages of Planet and B is ten years younger than me. As always, I thought, what the fuck world will my daughter be inhabiting when she is my age in 2047? It seems to me the descent to clusterfuck is increasing both in angle and in speed. When I got home I found myself link-fishing the clusterfuck. I can still get angry, to no effective purpose, apparently. Then I listened to Ligeti piano sonatas while looking for poems for this post.


Goran Sinnevi

Translated by Rika Lesser


Not-Orpheus is singing   He sings his nothing   He sings his night   
He sings all the names   The name of nothing   The only name    Since   
long ago   He didn’t know it   And knew it in his night   
All things sing   All names sing   Every tonal difference, every
sound   All music in its destruction   In its sublation   Toward which point?
The mountain of nothing hovers   Before it crushes us   With its night   With its
In the evening I walked through town with you, Dearest, along the river   
A clear cold spring evening, the half-moon shone   As if walking in a foreign city   
Though I recognized parts of it   You said it was almost like   
walking in Prague, where we would have been if my mother hadn’t fallen ill   
When we stood by one corner of the Hotel Svea, where I played in a dance band in
the huge flock of jackdaws, in the trees by the bastion near the castle, flew   
out over the river, in micropolyphonic conversation    As in a piece by Ligeti   
That night I dreamed I crossed a bridge spanning the river, now very broad   
The long bridge was swaying, huge ocean swells entering the river from the sea   
I walked with a girl, kissed her on the mouth, on the opposite bank   
In the morning you came into my bed, Dear, we slinked like teenagers, so my   
       mother wouldn’t hear us,
where she slept, in the room outside ours   She’s already much better   
I look at my face in the bathroom mirror   Will I manage to go out into the Brain  
Trucks pass   Traffic goes on, in the great exchange of goods   
Gulls, trees, people   The degree of virtuality in different goods, the phantasms   
also in what we eat, conceptions of origin, contents, effects
Fear    Cultivated tastes    We are in the immediacy of memory    Only in a flash of
astonishment can memory be broken   But even lightning is informed    I look at
diagrams of Giordano Bruno, read his texts   See that all this is exactly as in   
Jung, fundamental magical forms, for guiding the divine,   
the unknown within the soul   Also the similarity with tantric forms      
    Yes, that’s   
        how it is,   
I think, both Freud and Jung are magicians, the difference in rationality is   
only marginal, Jung’s a little older, Freud’s more modern, a continuation of   
Descartes, developed later in Spinoza’s pneumatic model for the passions,   
and yet both are found, subsumed in Bruno’s love-flow, the lineage backward,   
the tantric flow, also Plato’s Diotima, her flow . . .   
Hölderlin saw the stream of people in dark water, streaming over   
the ledges in the human-geological world, the levels of the abyss,   Para-   
       dise’s various degrees of stasis   
What use can I make of these magical forms? I’m no magician    And yet
I acknowledge their power, also within my self   If they prevail, sovereignty   
is crushed   Libero arbitrio   There the forms also break down   
The stream of love breaks down    Fluid lightning    The flash of vibrating being   
But also the flash of darkness   The light of Beatrice’s eyes, their lightning
    flash   How  
am I to understand this? How to understand unknowing   That I do not!


Lucie Brock-Broido

Silk spool of the recluse as she confects her eventual mythomania.

If it is written down, you can't rescind it.

Spoon and pottage bowl. You are starving. Come closer now.

What if I were gone and the wind still reeks of hyacinth, what then.

Who will I be: a gaudy arrangement of nuclei, an apple-size gray circle

On the tunic of a Jew, preventing more bad biological accidents

                                From breeding-in. I have not bred-

In. Each child still has one lantern inside lit. May the Mother not

Blow her children out. She says her hair is thinning, thin.

The flowerbed is black, sumptuous in emptiness.

Blue-footed mushrooms line the walkway to my door. I would as soon

Die as serve them in a salad to the man I love. We lie down

In the shape of a gondola. Venice is gorgeous cold. 3 December,

Unspeakable anxiety about locked-in syndrome, about a fourth world.

I cannot presume to say. The violin spider, she

Has six good eyes, arranged in threes.

                                The rims of wounds have wounds as well.

Sphinx, small print, you are inscrutable.

                                                            On the roads, blue thistles, barely

Visible by night, and, by these, you may yet find your way home.


  1. a couple of things i encountered in my reading today -

    from the chris floyd essay linked to above, titled 'building a lasting legacy of death' -

    "The bare, banal, widely accepted, shrugged-off realities of life in the American Imperium today would have been regarded, just a few years ago, as the wildest, most unbelievable fantasies of political paranoids. The president sits in the White House and draws up death lists. Robot-controlled missiles blow up people’s houses, killing hundreds of civilians each year. Not an eyelid is batted, scarcely a voice is raised in protest, except on the far-flung disregarded margins. This is the way the world is, and one must acknowledge that — but sometimes, the cognitive dissonance hits you like a two-by-four upside the head."

    from a handout by christopher germer, ph.d. - a meditation to help manage compassion fatigue

    Everyone is on his or her own life journey.
    I am not the cause of this person’s suffering,
    nor is it entirely within my power to make it go away,
    even if I wish I could.
    Moments like this are difficult to bear,
    yet I may still try to help if I can.


    this story about chinese oldsters killing themselves because their coffins are being confiscated due to a government policy shows how important ideas of the afterlife can be

    they seem to think they will "live" in their coffins when they are buried in them, and so the physical characteristics of the coffins are very important

    the alternative, cremation, means total destruction - whereas burial in the precious coffin is seen as a kind of continued existence

    to avoid an eternity of nonexistence, they prefer to kill themselves now, when it is still possible to be buried in the coffin - if they wait until they die naturaly, by that time the coffin may have been taken away, and their bodies will be reduced to ashes

    a relative of mine was cremated just a few weeks ago - her obituary can be read at