What is Essential?

In John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing,” we find the following comment: “It is not irritating to be where one is. It is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else.” Likewise, we may find that when we are alone, we find ourselves wanting company, but when we are in company, we mayContinue reading “What is Essential?”

Diary: How to Improve the Text (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)

Diary: How to Improve the Text (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)   John Cage titled his diary, “Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)” (1965), suggesting a zen koan where every move in one direction is a move in another direction. Cage was not too into the game ofContinue reading “Diary: How to Improve the Text (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)”

Haiku on Dog Cloud Piano for Guitar and Voice

Press yes to play here the balls fall for free hear them drop and roll english orb orbit for texting eddies no to go away in pool hall heaven chalk up your cue stick break like a big bang syllabicating maybe to come back no need for quarters green felt of grass field consider theContinue reading “Haiku on Dog Cloud Piano for Guitar and Voice”

On Discussion

What is there to discuss-ion? “Music as discourse (jazz) doesn’t work,” John Cage said.* “If you’re going to have a discussion, have it and use words.” As both a jazz and Cage fan, I’ve often reflected on the paradox, for discourse, “running to and fro,” seems an accurate description of jazz, with or without words.Continue reading “On Discussion”

On Boredom

Today we gaze into the Abyss of Ennui. What is boredom? “Excess of sorrow laughs, excess of joy weeps”: In “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” Blake understood the Abyss, and sought to correct our assumptions and expectations. “The busy bee has no time for sorrow,” Blake said. But commuting home through an hour ofContinue reading “On Boredom”

On Prayer and Poetry

What is prayer? When I was a kid, I learned the Catholic prayers, and believed Sister Mary Annette, who liked to quote Shakespeare, when she said, “Words without thought never to heaven go.” King Claudius is trying to pray, looks like he is praying, to Hamlet, anyway, and so Hamlet decides to put off killingContinue reading “On Prayer and Poetry”


“jazzskin” is an old, handmade chapbook (1973, 17 pages – click on photos): The “poetry occurs” idea is a riff off John Cage, whose book “Silence” (1961) begins with “The Future of Music: Credo”: “Wherever we are,” Cage says, “what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listenContinue reading ““jazzskin””

A Lot Ado About Nothing

I once spent a lot of time going to a lot of meetings where I took a lot of notes but also doodled a lot. Sometimes my neighbors showed an interest in my doodles, but not often. Over time I developed a disregard for the term a lot. A lot is used a lot asContinue reading “A Lot Ado About Nothing”

Four Short Statements on the Sentence

Entering the sentence, one feels caught in a trap, a cage, punctuation the catches and latches of entrance and exit that clamps down on our heads and tails, our arms or legs, fingers – when we let out an exclamation point, holding swelling finger up. Returning to the three persons (me, you, and the other:Continue reading “Four Short Statements on the Sentence”

Ticker Tape Sentence

A new sentence, ahoy, begins to move along the horizon, words crossing on the horizon like ticker tape, words like ships at sea, ship-sat sea, a sentence a fleet of words, but quiet, so far out, out to sea, but futile, our following them, their passage, so why not just limit the sentence to oneContinue reading “Ticker Tape Sentence”