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T Jones Aug 2014
Not a poem but in protest of flagging truth about racism in Traverse City, Michigan


Traverse City, Michigan: Racism is still alive and well in our area.

We weren't always welcoming
Cross burning's (City of Traverse City, MI)
I'm born and raised in Traverse City, Michigan and still living in the same neighborhood where I grew up. I can remember when blacks were not welcome in most parts of town and the one or two around were military visitors.

We had two known cross burning incidents. One back in the late 80's or early 90's the other was around 1924, ******* groups like Ku Klux **** was behind both cross burning incidents. I found old articles on the earlier one but someone is trying hard to white wash history of Traverse City by hiding evidence of the most resent one. Ones like me who were there remember those dark days like it was yesterday. It don't bode well for tourism or the Cherry Festival if there's a record of racism in our city.

Copy pasting one two different retelling of story reported by our sometimes biased Record Eagle articles regarding the first and and will continue to dig for the other one.

January 31, 2009
KKK was active in early '20s

The 1924 bombings and cross burnings in downtown Traverse City were not the first **** activity in northern Michigan.

The Record-Eagle reported flaming crosses in the Mancelona area on Aug. 1, 1923, a full year before. Six weeks later, Traverse City commissioners refused the **** permission to hold a Sept. 17 open-air meeting at the corner of Front and Cass.

About 300 people showed up anyway and marched to a vacant lot west of Front and Union after the unidentified property owner gave permission, carefully noting that it "did not commit him to any relationship with the organization," the newspaper said.

The Record-Eagle also passed on information from an identified **** source in its Sept. 17 report:

Two, maybe three organizers had worked for weeks in Traverse City. About 150 Traverse City men from "among the leading citizens" had joined. An open-air ritual with the traditional fiery cross burning on a hillside would be held "sometime but not yet" in or near Traverse City, and it would be "merely a part of the **** ceremonies and have no special significance."

People who expected to see hooded men in white robes performing rites at the Sept. 17 rally were bound to be disappointed, the paper said. A new state law banned wearing masks in public. It also would be difficult to tell how many in the audience were KKK members because "every person who has signed the Ku Klux card has pledged to keep his membership an absolute secret."


Traverse City, Michigan wasn't always welcoming to people of color.


Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 1, 2009
Ku Klux **** terrorizes TC in 1924

KKK cross burnings, explosions rock city

By LORAINE ANDERSON
Black History Month has special significance, since it begins fewer than two weeks after the nation's historic inauguration of its first black president, Barack Obama.

But there are parts of that history that Traverse City, like the rest of the nation, would rather forget. The city never had a large black population, but it did not escape a visit from the Ku Klux **** during a frightening night of downtown explosions and cross burnings on Aug. 9, 1924.

Traverse City has never seen anything like that night of terror. Buildings shook. Store windows cracked and shattered. Houses as far away as 16th Street quaked, the Record-Eagle reported.

And though outside agitators were blamed, some local people may have been involved.

It started about 8 p.m. after three explosions went off across the river from the Lyric Theatre, where the State is today.

The crowd at the Lyric all but stampeded toward the door as women and children screamed. Panicked shoppers spilled out of downtown stores. City police phones jangled with alarm.

A large cross burned on the north side of the Boardman River near Cass Street. About 50 smaller burning crosses appeared almost simultaneously at the centers of intersections across the city. Each was crudely nailed together and swathed in oil-soaked rags. Sparks flew when several cars struck them. A city fire truck raced through town to douse flames.

Then, a "touring car" with four men, robed and hooded, though not masked, slowly trolled down Front Street carrying a sign surrounded by red flares blazing three letters: KKK.

Copies of the Ku Klux **** newspaper, "The Fiery Cross," later were found downtown, and police determined that at least two cars were involved in planting and lighting the crosses.

**** leaders called the explosions and flaming crosses a recruiting gimmick, but it was more than that. The 1920s was a reactionary time in the United States. The **** had risen again, starting in 1915, widening its anti-black focus to Jews, Catholics and immigrants, particularly those from southeastern Europe. Its membership was strongest in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

The ****'s most powerful year was 1924, when it reached an all-time high of 5 million members nationwide and virtually controlled the government of Indiana. Its most popular slogan was "100 percent pure American."

The **** had a solid base of support in Michigan. The **** fielded two candidates in the Republican gubernatorial primary in 1924 and a ****-backed candidate was elected mayor of Flint. A write-in **** candidate even made a strong showing in a Detroit mayoral race.

In June 1924, 1,000 men joined the KKK in an Oakland County cross burning attended by about 8,000 people. Traverse City's demonstration took place just two months later. But who was really behind it?

"There is some doubt among the authorities as to whether the offenses were actually committed by local people or men from outside. They believe that local people were associated in the affair," the Record-Eagle reported.

An unidentified spokesman for the local **** denied responsibility, speculating that it was the work of **** enemies or rogue Klansmen. He told the Record-Eagle that the **** repudiated terror tactics and burning of "unwatched crosses."

Two weeks after the bombing, city police obtained felony and misdemeanor arrest warrants accusing Ku Klux **** organizer Basil Carleton of Richmond, Ind., of setting off explosives. Indiana police arrested him on Aug. 29.

Witnesses testified in two trials in December and January that Carleton had purchased 25 pounds of dynamite, fuses and three caps from Hannah & Lay Mercantile Co. about two hours before the explosions. A Park Place Hotel clerk said he saw Carleton hurrying away from the direction of the explosions about 10 minutes later. Two **** members testified that Carleton was not at the scene.

Yet he was never convicted. Juries acquitted him in both cases because the prosecutor could not prove to their satisfaction that he was at the scene of the explosion or that he personally set off the dynamite.

The bomber escaped justice. But the good news was that in Traverse City, no night of terror like that happened again.

It was this event that sparked the cross burning in Traverse City. We had only one black family in our city, when Betty Ponder and her family left Traverse City for the first time due to no one wanting to rent to them, population of blacks in our predominately white city drop to zero.


******* Movement Targets Northern Michigan

by Robert Downes

National Alliance advocates the creation of "two Americas"

Traverse City, Mich., noted primarily for its beaches, tourists and cherry pie values, appears to be erupting as a national battleground of opinion over the ******* movement, with forces on both sides of the issue coming out of the woodwork to vent their outrage over racial issues.
On Thursday, June 5, residents along stretches of Washington and Front streets in town came home to find a slick package of information from the National Alliance hanging from their doorknobs. An outgrowth of the American **** Party, the National Alliance is a ******* group which advocates the creation of "two Americas," one of which would be "White Space only with no Jews or blacks." The Alliance, advocates genocidal practices if need be to achieve its goals, and plans to distribute 1,000 information packets in Northern Michigan.

Protest organized to oppose July "NordicFest"
The incident arose only a day after more than 150 people from throughout Northern Michigan gathered at a "Hate-Free TC" meeting to oppose the NordicFest, a skinhead rock festival sponsored by the Ku Klux ****, to be held at a secret location 20 miles south of town, July 3-6.
The NordicFest is being advertised on the Internet and will feature at least six skinhead bands featured on Stormfront Records and Resistance Records -- both of which are purveyors of neo-**** hate music. It will also reportedly feature speakers from the Ku Klux **** and Aryan Nations.

Thus far, the NordicFest's location has been a closely-kept secret by David Neumann of Bloodbond Enterprizes, the concert organizer and a former director of the Michigan Knights of the Ku Klux ****. Neumann has told local media that 300 tickets have been sold for the concert -- about half the number he expects to sell. Reportedly, concertgoers will be provided with maps to the secret location at a checkpoint.

Bands expected to play at the NordicFest include Intimidation One, Aggravated Assault, Blue Eyed Devils, Max Resist and the Hooligans, and No Alibi.

Local churches offering seminars on the ******* movement and the importance of diversity
GATHERING STORM

Journalists have made inquiries on the NordicFest from as far away as London, New York and Colorado as a result of the Northern Express story circulating on the Internet. A segment for National Public Radio is expected to take the issue nationwide, possibly focusing the world's attention on Traverse City on the eve of the National Cherry Festival -- an event which draws more than half a million visitors, many of them from ethnic minorities.
"We're creating a rainbow ribbon that we hope everyone will wear in rejection of skinheads and the ****," said Rabbi Stacey Fine of Hate-Free TC. "We hope to have hundreds of ribbons during the time the **** is here, available from downtown merchants."

Fine says the group also hopes to march in the National Cherry Royale Parade with a three-by-eight-foot banner covered with thousands of signatures in a show of support for racial and cultural diversity. Thus far, Cherry Festival officials say they have received no applications from Hate-Free T.C., but will consider the request if approached.

Dottie Kye of Hate-Free TC says the group doesn't plan to try stopping the NordicFest despite their opposition ot the concert. "We're ignoring it," Kye says. "We celebrate anyone's right to organize and free speech. But our thing is unity and celebrating diversity." In addition to several church seminars on the ******* movement and the importance of diversity, Hate-Free TC is organizing a three-day "Unity Festival" which will feature dozens of musicians, artists, poets, actors and peace activists at the Traverse City Opera House, July 3-6.

Concert organizers Tim Hall and Tom Emmott say that more than 40 musical acts will send a pro-diversity message to area teens, with performers including Willie Kye, Alright Already, John Greilick, Samantha Moore, the Motor Town Juke Boys, Bentley Filmore, the Sisters Grimm, and Lack of Afro, among many others. A concert with Fishbone is planned for later in the month.

"Even if the NordicFest doesn't happen, something positive is going to come of it because it gets people thinking about the prevention of violence"
THE TEEN CONNECTION

The Unity Fest counter-concert is seen as a vital tool in fighting the influence of the ******* movement on teens in the area. After the initial story broke, the buzz in local high schools was that the NordicFest would be offering free beer to minors. Although that notion is clearly erroneous, a small number of teens in the area still cling to the idea and have also been attracted by the rebellious nature of the skinhead rock scene.
Tim Hall believes that his Unity Fest concert will help turn that tide. The three-day concert will be located in the heart of Traverse City in the old City Opera House, with easy access for the hundreds of teens who hang out downtown, often with little to do. "Our message is going to be one that values racial and cultural diversity," Hall said. "And we've had a great response so far. We had to put a lid on the performers when we reached 40 acts, because everyone wants to play at this event."

The Unity Fest will also coincide with the Annual Reggie Box Memorial Blues Blast, which was created five years ago to bring the heritage of black music to Northern Michigan for the overwhelmingly white Cherry Festival. This year's Blues Blast will feature John Mayall, Marcia Ball and the Bihlman Bros. in a free concert downtown on July 6. The concert will also feature a strong message promoting diversity.

The law enforcement view Traverse City Police Chief Ralph Soffredine says members of the law enforcement community, including the State Police and sheriffs from Grand Traverse and Wexford counties, are taking a wait-and-see approach as to whether the NordicFest will even be held.

"People ask what we would do if the skinheads wanted to march, and it's our position that they have the same rights under the First Amendment as anyone as long as they're obeying the law," Soffredine said. "It's a neutral situation for us. We just want to maintain the peace."

He added that skinheads coming to Traverse City would be treated "no different than if longhairs come into town, or square dancers. We'd certainly observe them and respond if there's trouble."

The chief noted that a similar event occurred in the Buckley area several years ago when several motorcycle gangs gathered for a rally. While the event was monitored by local police agencies, few people in the area knew that it occurred.

"Even if the NordicFest doesn't happen, something positive is going to come of it because it gets people thinking about the prevention of violence, which has become a serious problem in our community and our schools," he concluded. "The unfortunate thing is that it sometimes takes a ******* or a racial issue for people to get active."

"Sheriff Barr implies that people who have the courage to confront them will be put in jail."
ANGER FROM ACTIVISTS

Not everyone is happy with the neutral attitude of law enforcement. Judy Lowenzahn of Traverse City thinks that local police agencies should get tough on the **** concert, which has no legally-required bond or liquor license.
"These hateful groups are using skinhead music to recruit soldiers for their facist movement," Lowenzahn said. "If they are allowed to hold this event, in violation of local, state and federal laws and in violation of common decency, we will be capitve audience to their deranged homophobic, anti-semitic, racist, sexist ideology. Those who protest this message, along with those who are their scapegoats will be targets for hate crimes."

Lowenzahn upbraided Grand Traverse County Sheriff Barr after he made comments in a local paper that "I'd just as soon personally let them have their little event and be on their way." Barr added that if there was a confrontation between the skinheads and protestors, "there's going to be someone in jail."

"Does Sheriff Barr suggest that people of color and others who don't fit the aryan model hide inside their homes for the holiday weekend?" Lowenzhan responded. "Rather than offer a plan to protect the community from the violence that grows whenever white supremecists do outreach, Sheriff Barr implies that people who have the courage to confront them will be put in jail."

Northern Michigan targeted because of the predominantly white population
KLUELESS

Up to now, the vast majority of Northern Michigan residents have been klueless on the **** and the ******* movement. Many, for instance, had no idea that there even was a Ku Klux **** operating in the region until Neumann revealed that there are about 60 members operating mostly as "a fraternal organization" between ******* and the Mackinac Bridge.
Similarly, the existence and agenda of the National Alliance is all-ne
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
She said, ‘You are funny, the way you set yourself up the moment we arrive. You look into every room to see if it’s suitable as a place to work. Is there a table? Where are the plugs? Is there a good chair at the right height? If there isn’t, are there cushions to make it so? You are funny.’
 
He countered this, but his excuse didn’t sound very convincing. He knew exactly what she meant, but it hurt him a little that she should think it ‘funny’. There’s nothing funny about trying to compose music, he thought. It’s not ‘radio in the head’ you know – this was a favourite expression he’d once heard an American composer use. You don’t just turn a switch and the music’s playing, waiting for you to write it down. You have to find it – though he believed it was usually there, somewhere, waiting to be found. But it’s elusive. You have to work hard to detect what might be there, there in the silence of your imagination.
 
Later over their first meal in this large cottage she said, ‘How do you stop hearing all those settings of the Mass that you must have heard or sung since childhood?’ She’d been rehearsing Verdi’s Requiem recently and was full of snippets of this stirring piece. He was a) writing a Mass to celebrate a cathedral’s reordering after a year as a building site, and b) he’d been a boy chorister and the form and order of the Mass was deeply engrained in his aural memory. He only had to hear the plainsong introduction Gloria in Excelsis Deo to be back in the Queen’s chapel singing Palestrina, or Byrd or Poulenc.
 
His ‘found’ corner was in the living room. The table wasn’t a table but a long cabinet she’d kindly covered with a tablecloth. You couldn’t get your feet under the thing, but with his little portable drawing board there was space to sit properly because the board jutted out beyond the cabinet’s top. It was the right length and its depth was OK, enough space for the board and, next to it, his laptop computer. On the floor beside his chair he placed a few of his reference scores and a box of necessary ‘bits’.
 
The room had two large sofas, an equally large television, some unexplainable and instantly dismissible items of decoration, a standard lamp, and a wood burning stove. The stove was wonderful, and on their second evening in the cottage, when clear skies and a stiff breeze promised a cold night, she’d lit it and, as the evening progressed, they basked in its warmth, she filling envelopes with her cards, he struggling with sleep over a book.
 
Despite and because this was a new, though temporary, location he had got up at 5.0am. This is a usual time for composers who need their daily fix of absolute quiet. And here, in this cottage set amidst autumn fields, within sight of a river estuary, under vast, panoramic uninterrupted skies, there was the distinct possibility of silence – all day. The double-glazing made doubly sure of that.
 
He had sat with a mug of tea at 5.10 and contemplated the silence, or rather what infiltrated the stillness of the cottage as sound. In the kitchen the clock ticked, the refrigerator seemed to need a period of machine noise once its door had been opened. At 6.0am the central heating fired up for a while. Outside, the small fruit trees in the garden moved vigorously in the wind, but he couldn’t hear either the wind or a rustle of leaves.  A car droned past on the nearby road. The clear sky began to lighten promising a fine day. This would certainly do for silence.
 
His thoughts returned to her question of the previous evening, and his answer. He was about to face up to his explanation. ‘I empty myself of all musical sound’, he’d said, ‘I imagine an empty space into which I might bring a single note, a long held drone of a note, a ‘d’ above middle ‘c’ on a chamber ***** (seeing it’s a Mass I’m writing).  Harrison Birtwistle always starts on an ‘e’. A ‘d’ to me seems older and kinder. An ‘e’ is too modern and progressive, slightly brash and noisy.’
 
He can see she is quizzical with this anecdotal stuff. Is he having me on? But no, he is not having her on. Such choices are important. Without them progress would be difficult when the thinking and planning has to stop and the composing has to begin. His notebook, sitting on his drawing board with some first sketches, plays testament to that. In this book glimpses of music appear in rhythmic abstracts, though rarely any pitches, and there are pages of written description. He likes to imagine what a new work is, and what it is not. This he writes down. Composer Paul Hindemith reckoned you had first to address the ‘conditions of performance’. That meant thinking about the performers, the location, above all the context. A Mass can be, for a composer, so many things. There were certainly requirements and constraints. The commission had to fulfil a number of criteria, some imposed by circumstance, some self-imposed by desire. All this goes into the melting ***, or rather the notebook. And after the notebook, he takes a large piece of A3 paper and clarifies this thinking and planning onto (if possible) a single sheet.
 
And so, to the task in hand. His objective, he had decided, is to focus on the whole rather than the particular. Don’t think about the Kyrie on its own, but consider how it lies with the Gloria. And so with the Sanctus & Benedictus. How do they connect to the Agnus Dei. He begins on the A3 sheet of plain paper ‘making a map of connections’. Kyrie to Gloria, Gloria to Credo and so on. Then what about Agnus Dei and the Gloria? Is there going to be any commonality – in rhythm, pace and tempo (we’ll leave melody and harmony for now)? Steady, he finds himself saying, aren’t we going back over old ground? His notebook has pages of attempts at rhythmizing the text. There are just so many ways to do this. Each rhythmic solution begets a different slant of meaning.
 
This is to be a congregational Mass, but one that has a role for a 4-part choir and ***** and a ‘jazz instrument’. Impatient to see notes on paper, he composes a new introduction to a Kyrie as a rhythmic sketch, then, experimentally, adds pitches. He scores it fully, just 10 bars or so, but it is barely finished before his critical inner voice says, ‘What’s this for? Do you all need this? This is showing off.’ So the filled-out sketch drops to the floor and he examines this element of ‘beginning’ the incipit.
 
He remembers how a meditation on that word inhabits the opening chapter of George Steiner’s great book Grammars of Creation. He sees in his mind’s eye the complex, colourful and ornate letter that begins the Lindesfarne Gospels. His beginnings for each movement, he decides, might be two chords, one overlaying the other: two ‘simple’ diatonic chords when sounded separately, but complex and with a measure of mystery when played together. The Mass is often described as a mystery. It is that ritual of a meal undertaken by a community of people who in the breaking of bread and wine wish to bring God’s presence amongst them. So it is a mystery. And so, he tells himself, his music will aim to hold something of mystery. It should not be a comment on that mystery, but be a mystery itself. It should not be homely and comfortable; it should be as minimal and sparing of musical commentary as possible.
 
When, as a teenager, he first began to set words to music he quickly experienced the need (it seemed) to fashion accompaniments that were commentaries on the text the voice was singing. These accompaniments did not underpin the words so much as add a commentary upon them. What lay beneath the words was his reaction, indeed imaginative extension of the words. He eschewed then both melisma and repetition. He sought an extreme independence between word and music, even though the word became the scenario of the music. Any musical setting was derived from the composition of the vocal line.  It was all about finding the ‘key’ to a song, what unlocked the door to the room of life it occupied. The music was the room where the poem’s utterance lived.
 
With a Mass you were in trouble for the outset. There was a poetry of sorts, but poetry that, in the countless versions of the vernacular, had lost (perhaps had never had) the resonance of the Latin. He thought suddenly of the supposed words of William Byrd, ‘He who sings prays twice’. Yes, such commonplace words are intercessional, but when sung become more than they are. But he knew he had to be careful here.
 
Why do we sing the words of the Mass he asks himself? Do we need to sing these words of the Mass? Are they the words that Christ spoke as he broke bread and poured wine to his friends and disciples at his last supper? The answer is no. Certainly these words of the Mass we usually sing surround the most intimate words of that final meal, words only the priest in Christ’s name may articulate.
 
Write out the words of the Mass that represent its collective worship and what do you have? Rather non-descript poetry? A kind of formula for collective incantation during worship? Can we read these words and not hear a surrounding music? He thinks for a moment of being asked to put new music to words of The Beatles. All you need is love. Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Oh bla dee oh bla da life goes on. Now, now this is silliness, his Critical Voice complains. And yet it’s not. When you compose a popular song the gap between some words scribbled on the back of an envelope and the hook of chords and melody developed in an accidental moment (that becomes a way of clothing such words) is often minimal. Apart, words and music seem like orphans in a storm. Together they are home and dry.
 
He realises, and not for the first time, that he is seeking a total musical solution to the whole of the setting of those words collectively given voice to by those participating in the Mass.
 
And so: to the task in hand. His objective: to focus on the whole rather than the particular.  Where had he heard that thought before? - when he had sat down at his drawing board an hour and half previously. He’d gone in a circle of thought, and with his sketch on the floor at his feet, nothing to show for all that effort.
 
Meanwhile the sun had risen. He could hear her moving about in the bathroom. He went to the kitchen and laid out what they would need to breakfast together. As he poured milk into a jug, primed the toaster, filled the kettle, the business of what might constitute a whole solution to this setting of the Mass followed him around the kitchen and breakfast room like a demanding child. He knew all about demanding children. How often had he come home from his studio to prepare breakfast and see small people to school? - more often than he cared to remember. And when he remembered he became sad that it was no more.  His children had so often provided a welcome buffer from sessions of intense thought and activity. He loved the walk to school, the first quarter of a mile through the park, a long avenue of chestnut trees. It was always the end of April and pink and white blossoms were appearing, or it was September and there were conkers everywhere. It was under these trees his daughter would skip and even his sons would hold hands with him; he would feel their warmth, their livingness.
 
But now, preparing breakfast, his Critical Voice was that demanding child and he realised when she appeared in the kitchen he spoke to her with a voice of an artist in conversation with his critics, not the voice of the man who had the previous night lost himself to joy in her dear embrace. And he was ashamed it was so.
 
How he loved her gentle manner as she negotiated his ‘coming too’ after those two hours of concentration and inner dialogue. Gradually, by the second cup of coffee he felt a right person, and the hours ahead did not seem too impossible.
 
When she’d gone off to her work, silence reasserted itself. He played his viola for half an hour, just scales and exercises and a few folk songs he was learning by heart. This gathering habit was, he would say if asked, to reassert his musicianship, the link between his body and making sound musically. That the viola seemed to resonate throughout his whole body gave him pleasure. He liked the ****** movement required to produce a flowing sequence of bow strokes. The trick at the end of this daily practice was to put the instrument in its case and move immediately to his desk. No pause to check email – that blight on a morning’s work. No pause to look at today’s list. Back to the work in hand: the Mass.
 
But instead his mind and intention seemed to slip sideways and almost unconsciously he found himself sketching (on the few remaining staves of a vocal experiment) what appeared to be a piano piece. The rhythmic flow of it seemed to dance across the page to be halted only when the few empty staves were filled. He knew this was one of those pieces that addressed the pianist, not the listener. He sat back in his chair and imagined a scenario of a pianist opening this music and after a few minutes’ reflection and reading through allowing her hands to move very slowly and silently a few millimetres over the keys.  Such imagining led him to hear possible harmonic simultaneities, dynamics and articulations, though he knew such things would probably be lost or reinvented on a second imagined ‘performance’. No matter. Now his make-believe pianist sounded the first bar out. It had a depth and a richness that surprised him – it was a fine piano. He was touched by its affect. He felt the possibilities of extending what he’d written. So he did. And for the next half an hour lived in the pastures of good continuation, those rich luxuriant meadows reached by a rickerty rackerty bridge and guarded by a troll who today was nowhere to be seen.
 
It was a curious piece. It came to a halt on an enigmatic, go-nowhere / go-anywhere chord after what seemed a short declamatory coda (he later added the marking deliberamente). Then, after a few minutes reflection he wrote a rising arpeggio, a broken chord in which the consonant elements gradually acquired a rising sequence of dissonance pitches until halted by a repetition. As he wrote this ending he realised that the repeated note, an ‘a’ flat, was a kind of fulcrum around which the whole of the music moved. It held an enigmatic presence in the harmony, being sometimes a g# sometimes an ‘a’ flat, and its function often different. It made the music take on a wistful quality.
 
At that point he thought of her little artists’ book series she had titled Tide Marks. Many of these were made of a concertina of folded pages revealing - as your eyes moved through its pages - something akin to the tide’s longitudinal mark. This centred on the page and spread away both upwards and downwards, just like those mirror images of coloured glass seen in a child’s kaleidoscope. No moment of view was ever quite the same, but there were commonalities born of the conditions of a certain day and time.  His ‘Tide Mark’ was just like that. He’d followed a mark made in his imagination from one point to another point a little distant. The musical working out also had a reflection mechanism: what started in one hand became mirrored in the other. He had unexpectedly supplied an ending, this arpegiated gesture of finality that wasn’t properly final but faded away. When he thought further about the role of the ending, he added a few more notes to the arpeggio, but notes that were not be sounded but ghosted, the player miming a press of the keys.
 
He looked at the clock. Nearly five o’clock. The afternoon had all but disappeared. Time had retreated into glorious silence . There had been three whole hours of it. How wonderful that was after months of battling with the incessant and draining turbulence of sound that was ever present in his city life. To be here in this quiet cottage he could now get thoroughly lost – in silence. Even when she was here he could be a few rooms apart, and find silence.
 
A week more of this, a fortnight even . . . but he knew he might only manage a few days before visitors arrived and his long day would be squeezed into the early morning hours and occasional uncertain periods when people were out and about.
 
When she returned, very soon now, she would make tea and cut cake, and they’d sit (like old people they wer
ryn  Oct 2014
Rhetoricals
ryn Oct 2014
Are we fated to dance to the same tune alone in our separate universes?
Is it true that we must silently keep to our preordained curses?

Are we destined to swoon at the beauty of the moon at differing time slots?
Why were we given invisible ink to connect our lives' dots?

Must it be that our lives revolve around the whims of the sun?
Isn't it ludicrous that we won't see the intricate webs we've spun?

Was it the plan that we exist only in our minds and hearts?
Why do we have to tolerate starting when the other's ending and end at the other's starts?

Has it been written that we can only afford to infinitely chase each others heartbeats?
Was it foretold that we're trapped in a singular notion that never really fits?

Is the game set as such that we can never emerge as winners?
How is it that the ocean was made out of our tears that flowed from rivers?

Why is it that with our entirety we believe but do not know?
What's the reason for the path made clear but we're too afraid to go?

What does it entail to possess the very least but yet you covet it the most?
How do you pride yourself in something but not allowed to boast?

Why do we frantically scramble to piece together jagged shards?
Can't we just play this blasted deck of lousy cards?

Is it destiny or cruelty to have found then lost?
Why does it seem absurd that we have all its takes but can't afford the cost?

Is it the thoughts that **** or the emotions that debilitate?
Is it the challenges we take on or the curveballs we anticipate?

Why bother when sheer folly is all it seems to be?
Why tarry when the heart is free and the mind is ready?

Is it ridiculous to have found myself still very bothered?
Is it wrong to question fate that had always bound us tethered?

Why is the good always bad and the bad becomes worse?
Is it true that the harder we fight, the deeper we immerse?

Has life turned to be but sad little rhetorics?
Are we but performers on stages coerced into theatrics?

Is it time for me to surface this one-man submarine?
Will it be so that if I do, my journey would then begin...?
A host of rhetorical questions from my older writes...

"Surface this one-man submarine"  isn't mine... It's Brandon Boyd's.
Taken off Incubus' " Love Hurts"
Bryan Dahl  May 2018
Bottom Up
Bryan Dahl May 2018
Street performers.

Busking. Panhandling. Begging.

An artist’s most submissive position.

Music’s all-powerful mystery beholden to pocket change.

Until a blind man, guitar in hand,

On the Blue Line platform,

Plucks from an unsuspecting heart

An unmistakable theme-

“What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?”

An unmistakable love story...

One bill and some coins in his collection basket,

A mysterious, gentle reminder-

Dynamics come wholly undone.

I drop in my all-powerful dollar,

All aboard the train.

Down here and now will I

Write for the first time in nearly three years.
Mateuš Conrad Aug 2016
the Islam of Malcolm X isn't the Islam of today... it isn't really the prescription of Nietzsche had before the Heraclitus flux took sway and said: waterfall or lottery... it really, really, really doesn't matter. the Islam of the 1960s isn't the Islam of today... too tinged with Sieg Heil... although less the Ave Caesar salute and more akin to: who's up for ****, *******? the Islam has changed... if i was wise enough i'd have converted, to mind you... but i thought: putting my faith by only having a library of only one book... i thought... n'ah... that's a bit extreme, can i at least have a comic book strip to add to that massive library? no? oh well, no, sorry, at least one book mentions several authors who tried to imitate but failed on the last hurdle, at least i can revise that, and completely erase the two extensions that borrowed from Hinduism; 'cos' like it ******* mattered.. don't test me, i'm anticipating death like  suicide-vest child... come on! let's start the Slavic crusade!

perhaps it's not about not thinking certain thoughts,
or feeling certain emotions...
but perhaps it just is...
i say, we need the Sophists these days to
apply the fishing-net tactic to deciphering or
simply selectively reflecting our vocabularies...
strait-jacket vocabularies are there in plain sight...
i mean... wait a minute...
i jumped from jazz into pop music on the headphones,
from Miles Davis' *kind of blue
defining
moment of the flamenco sketches right into the bog
of one direction - so i guess this is where
the antidote for art being too subjective comes in...
well, they sorted that problem already...
objectivity in art is around us as we speak,
it means "artists" that are manufactured,
art in the age of mechanical reproduction
(Walter Benjamin), it means more props than artists,
the problem got solved, it means reaching an
autocratic plateau of plugging in and sharing
a non-individualistic stream of emotion,
the opposite of democracy is autocracy, it isn't
despotism... i don't know why democracy doesn't
understand that it's ugly sister (autocracy)
is the enemy and not a Genghis Khan style of government...
democracy in the form of autocracy is a failed
attempt at Utopia... it suggests the system is perfect...
it means the institutions go about their daily business
like children in the playground who ******* and wet
themselves (the bankers), and still not one does anything
about it... what was once a demo tape of a indie band
becomes an automatic big seller big grosser E.P.,
just because the tragedy came, and they drove the touring
bus off a bridge in Sveeden... *******...
you ain't fighting dictators, you're fighting your change
from democracy into autocracy... where things
seem so perfect they can hardly ever change,
they're automated, they're not demographically sound...
sure, i'm the clown, i'll juggle a few big words around...
but in term of art? well, pop music has reached
the limit of what "philosophers" argued against...
to be frank... jealousy got to them that argued
for counter-productive constraints...
now they rebel against this objective construct of
artists in the shadows, writing text and tune and needing
some amateur to perform... and where do you
seek their rebellion? in the subjectivity they once
argued against: that famous Rage Against the Machine
protest against the X-factor...
so wait, first you argue against the subjectivity
of the artistic expression, then you postulate the non-existence
of the self: countered as the dasein for all subjectivity,
then you miss artistic objectivity with the karaoke
and what comes as the **** utopia with French
euthanasia tourists in Switzerland and Belgium...
you missed the argument you favoured, i.e.
artistic objectivity, i.e. performers, not people who write
the hit singles, Hiroshima Karaoke,
well, aren't we all objective now, that we have to source
our feelings in the expressions we once made angst against?
odd, isn't it? you never knew how well established
the counter argument became...
it's pop culture, it's evidently going to become viral...
but you see the power of subjective art...
it spreads like an infection, no point arguing against it...
objectivity in art is already a well established
virus, it doesn't really bite into your soul,
it bites, but you just get the odd body chicken ****...
that's what i mean about how a self-assured-without-a-self
democracy morphs into autocracy...
the fake Utopia of the well-established social
institutions actually being bankrupt, starting
with the post-colonial charity companies,
lying sharks and interest rates at 2000% per annum
i'm starting to think of Islam... leeches and hypocrites...
so your pointless critique of the subjectivity of the arts
became your most sling-shot friction strained weapon
to aim at the industry of art objectified,
in the age of mechanical reproduction true art = dodo...
it's on its way out... i hardly think that
50 years from now you'll find someone as idiotic
as me writing poetry for the love of the **** thing...
you'll get Utopian plateaus, anaesthetic democracy in
the realm of humanism, and hanging over you
autocracy... immovable foundations, cos' everything's
just perfect, time to invade another Libya where
some genius ensured the people knew their place
and who kept order on the pretence of
keeping weapons of mass destruction and
dog leashes... but there you will be ****-strapped going
huh? i thought subjectivity in art was bad?
n'ah mate, that's the only thing that made art good...
you got your ******* Karaoke, live with it!
the English Renaissance of the 1960s ain't coming back,
even if you gave Belfast back to the Dublin crew...
i say we need another Protagoras to get
the vocabulary inflation up to speed...
i say devalue the words self, ego... and make the
psychologists bums..
i say devalue the words nation, british and hamburger
to make the anglophile influence on Europe
a bit like sniffing a mortar of ******* off a penny...
i say reestablish the virtues of Japanese feudalism,
scare depressed teenagers with the words:
your only way out is by Hara Kiri.
something must come from a poem like this...
i have rage... you reason with it...
i'm not going to reason a calm into my heart with the words
i just wrote... n'ah... n'ah n'ah... that ain't happening...
it only took one needle in a haystack to give me prompt...
the ailments of subjectivity in art...
that got me, bull's eye reddened mad...
you ain't turning me into Darwinian grey matter!
this is democracy at its most despotic...
let me try democracy first, before i join the legion of dentists
with happy middle-class lives in autocracy...
can't blame ****** in this guise of organising people,
'cos' there just ain't no ******...
that got me hot wired and hired to argue...
first they say: art deserves no subjectivity...
fair enough: 1 man draws a rhombus a 1000 men draw a square...
but now that we can finally see objectivity being applied
to art, we only get pop: **** jazz, classical, rock and speedy-indie...
we get manufacture... as you once hated those with
personal intention to add to the democratic demographic,
now you turn against them for disturbing the status quo...
well, happy are those that come to the sun's repeat jargon
and happily doubt the roundabout...
because criticising art as subjectively orientated
really spared you art having ascribed objectivity to its cause
of attaining mechanical reproduction,
and the subjective placebo... neither thinking nor feeling
anything deeper than nervous yoga twitching dances...
spare me the ******* details if you come up with
a more accurate historical pinpoint.
Jennifer Feb 2016
Grace flows between her fingers,

As her body flows with the rhythmic beat of the song,

Feeling inches and inches of passion growing inside her limbs,

As she loses herself in the beautiful dance of perfection
Inspired after watching the movie of "Black Swan"
Andrew Scott  Feb 2013
TV Tripe
Andrew Scott Feb 2013
Maverick ex-cop (Green Beret /Navy Seal /SAS/Ranger)
Twiddle of the fingers to crack a 64 bit hexadecimal code
Shot but can still beat up bad people and run
15 people firing automatic weapons and they all miss
Database that searches the planets population in 2 seconds
And has photos of their children and plans of their building
Regardless of the crime scene sample, always a rare element that pinpoints location
Car chase where a truck can keep up with a Ducati motorbike
Organisations that only employ attractive people in lead roles
Ugly people are tech specialists sometimes allowed to be ‘quirky’
Even the uglies are attractive people disguised with glasses and bad hairstyles
‘I dream of genie’ gendre were they flirt but never get it on, unless it’s a hospital series
Watchable, funny programs that always succumb to sloppy sentimentality
High schools complete with intolerance, marginalisation, bullying, and hell on earth,
The most disturbing and darkest crime sent to titillate mid evening family viewing
Endless humiliation for fatties, chefs, performers, builders, restaurateurs, and troubled teens
Dysfunctional law enforcement agencies that never work together under any circumstances
Enough, if we need this thick coating of unreality, perhaps its time to switch off?
Ryan Holden Jun 2017
We are performers
And we cut all our feelings,
From the second take.
Hypnotic music, joyous sounds surround
The fans, all entranced by the performers.
The drummer happily bashes and pounds
Everything he sees shaped like cylinders.

The hi-hat steadily keeps the rhythm,
The bass drum makes a thud, quite powerful.
The crowd can't help but nod along with him
As he makes these beats so insatiable.

The cymbals create such fearful crashes,
And his finely tuned snare shoots roaring pops
Hurtling towards the off-guard masses,
This manic madness just can't seem to stop!

What exactly does he have left to prove?
He simply wants to see everyone *groove!
Nigel Morgan  Aug 2013
Rhythm
Nigel Morgan Aug 2013
Today we shall have the naming of parts. How the opening of that poem by Henry Reed caught his present thoughts; that banal naming of parts of a soldier’s rifle set against the delicate colours and textures of the gardens outside the lecture room. *Japonica glistening like coral  . . . branches holding their silent eloquent gestures . . . bees fumbling the flowers. It was the wrong season for this so affecting poem – the spring was not being eased as here, in quite a different garden, summer was easing itself out towards autumn, but it caught him, as a poem sometimes would.

He had taken a detour through the gardens to the studio where in half an hour his students would gather. He intended to name the very parts of rhythm and help them become aware of their personal knowledge and relationship with this most fundamental of musical elements, the most connected with the body.

He had arranged to have a percussionist in on the class, a player he admired (he had to admit) for the way this musician had dealt with a once-witnessed on-stage accident that he’d brought it into his poem sequence Lemon on Pewter. They had been in Cambridge to celebrate her birthday and just off the train had hurried their way through the bicycled streets to the college where he had once taught, and to a lunchtime concert in a theatre where he had so often performed himself.

Smash! the percussionist wipes his hands and grabs another bottle before the music escapes checking his fingers for cuts and kicking the broken glass from his feet It was a brilliant though unplanned moment we all agreed and will remember this concert always for that particular accidental smile-inducing sharp intake of breath moment when with a Fanta bottle in each hand there was a joyful hit and scrape guiro-like on the serrated edges a no-holes barred full-on sounding out of glass on glass and you just loved it when he drank the juice and fluting blew across the bottle’s mouth

And having thought himself back to those twenty-four hours in Cambridge the delights of the morning garden aflame with colour and texture were as nothing beside his vivid memory of that so precious time with her. The images and the very physical moments of that interval away and together flooded over him, and he had to stop to close his eyes because the images and moments were so very real and he was trembling . . . what was it about their love that kept doing this to him? Just this morning he had sat on the edge of his bed, and in the still darkness his imagination seemed to bring her to him, the warmth and scent of her as she slept face down into a pillow, the touch of her hair in his face as he would bend over her to kiss her ear and move his hand across the contours of her body, but without touching, a kind of air-lovers movement, a kiss of no-touch. But today, he reminded himself, we have the naming of parts . . .

He was going to tackle not just rhythm but the role of percussion. There was a week’s work here. He had just one day. And the students had one day to create a short ‘poem for percussion’ to be performed and recorded at the end of the afternoon class. In his own music he considered the element of percussion as an ever-present challenge. He had only met it by adopting a very particular strategy. He regarded its presence in a score as a kind of continuo element and thus giving the player some freedom in the choice of instruments and execution. He wanted percussion to be ‘a part’ of equal stature with the rest of the musical texture and not a series of disparate accents, emphases and colours. In other words rhythm itself was his first consideration, and all the rest followed. He thought with amusement of his son playing Vaughan-Williams The Lark Ascending and the single stroke of a triangle that constituted his percussion part. For him, so few composers could ‘do it’ with percussion. He had assembled for today a booklet of extracts of those who could: Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale (inevitably), Berio’s Cummings songs, George Perle’s Sextet, Living Toys by Tom Ades, his own Flights for violin and percussionist. He felt diffident about the latter, but he had the video of those gliders and he’d play the second movement What is the Colour of the Wind?

In the studio the percussionist and a group of student helpers were assembling the ‘kits’ they’d agreed on. The loose-limbed movements of such players always fascinated him. It was as though whatever they might be doing they were still playing – driving a car? He suddenly thought he might not take a lift from a percussionist.

On the grand piano there was, thankfully, a large pile of the special manuscript paper he favoured when writing for percussion, an A3 sheet with wider stave lines. Standing at the piano he pulled a sheet from the pile and he got out his pen. He wrote on the shiny black lid with a fluency that surprised him: a toccata-like passage based on the binary rhythms he intended to introduce to his class. He’d thought about making this piece whilst lying in bed the previous night, before sleep had taken him into a series of comforting dreams. He knew he must be careful to avoid any awkward crossings of sticks.

The music was devoid of any accents or dynamics, indeed any performance instructions. It was solely rhythm. He then composed a passage that had no rhythm, only performance instructions, dynamics, articulations such as tremolo and trills and a play of accents, but no rhythmic symbols. He then went to the photocopier in the corridor and made a batch of copies of both scores. As the machine whirred away he thought he might call her before his class began, just to hear her soft voice say ‘hello’ in that dear way she so often said it, the way that seem to melt him, and had been his undoing . . .

When his class had assembled (and the percussionist and his students had disappeared pro tem) he began immediately, and without any formal introduction, to write the first four 4-bit binary rhythms on the chalkboard, and asked them to complete it. This mystified a few but most got the idea (and by now there was a generous sharing between members of the class), so soon each student had the sixteen rhythms in front of them.

‘Label these rhythms with symbols a to p’, he said, ‘and then write out the letters of your full name. If there’s a letter there that goes beyond p create another list from q to z. You can now generate a rhythmic sequence using what mathematicians call a function-machine. Nigel would be:

x x = x     x = = =      = x x =      = x x x      x = x x

Write your rhythm out and then score it for 4 drums – two congas, two bongos.’

His notion was always to keep his class relentlessly occupied. If a student finished a task ahead of others he or she would find further instructions had appeared on the flip chart board.  Audition –in your head - these rhythms at high speed, at a really quick tempo. Now slow them right down. Experiment with shifting tempos, download a metronome app on your smart phone, score the rhythms for three clapping performers, and so on.

And soon it was performance time and the difficulties and awkwardness of the following day were forgotten as nearly everyone made it out front to perform their binary rhythmic pieces, and perform them with much laughter, but with flair and élan also. The room rang with the clapping of hands.

The percussionist appeared and after a brief introduction – in which the Fanta bottle incident was mentioned - composer and performer played together *****’s Clapping Music before a welcome break was taken.
Nicole Ashley Apr 2015
At least for people like me
Need to make the blind hear emotion
And make the deaf see emotion
For the mute to make noise
A smile through tears
Hits home for thousands of years
I don't think I could ever stop performing in my life. It's my heaven and hell.
Trevor Gates Jul 2013
The Obsidian Theater XV.



Welcome to my nightmare
Welcome to my show
The audience awaits your praise
And your stage light glow

My, my, it’s been too long.

[Walks across stage; light follows. Curtains pulled]

Where have all of you been?

[Audience laughter]

Oh, forgive me, that’s not the right question
To ask

Where have we been?

That’s more fitting


Where


Sipping Champagne with Bing Crosby among undead poets
With a casket made for two
“Brother can you spare a dime?”
He said,
“Lift me from this tribal paradigm.”

And

For many days I wandered the wilderness in the threads of
My carnivalesque grandfather
Ripping and tearing in the clinging trees
Hands of branches
Groping and pulling the garments off my body

In the middle of the Serbian wilderness was The Manor
Draped in dead trees and blackened ice

The valet stood at the gate in prime condition
Waiting

But for who?

“Why, you sir.” He told me, guiding me through the entrance, to the front door.

And inside were wonders to be held by the
muster of my weakened eyes

Ladybug dancers tossing their legs up to *****-tonk fanfare
Swirling magicians pulling rabbits and naked men from the shadows

Allegorical usurpers coated in a filmy residue of
Herzog dreams
And
Lynch fantasies

Perpetuated by my longing
My lost soul
My parched thirst
My growling stomach
My throbbing manhood
My forgotten affliction
And severed diction

A man slivering into the skin of a woman
A Lady donning the cowl of a man

Skins shivering with afterglow effects

And dreams woven by old witches with intestinal thread

It was eloquent darkness in the belly of the manor
Fit for a King of Devilish glamor

Brothers of Grimm
And
Sisters of Mercy

Told from the pages

From the books

Of frozen Gods
And forgotten Titans

These are the happenings of a great story
Fiction or not
You may tell it
And believe what you will

It doesn’t matter as long as it is strongly retold

From the lips of another

The wandering bard
Or
The pub crawling drunkard
To
The enamored *****
And
Bookworm report
It needs
To be shared
To others
Even impaired
To celebrate
Gasp
Giggle
Scare
Love
Soothe
Disrupt

My impeccable, capable
Hands-down sensational
Tour de force
Troupe
A la mode


Cherries on top of whipped screams and drinks
Juggling heads and animals over coals of fire
Give them a show
Give them a feat
Give them something to remember
Give them something to crawl back to
Give them a performance that will beckon the applause
For years to come
Show your audience
And readers love
And
Sorrow
The likes of which
Cannot be equaled
Or even compared to
Lesser
Congregations
Of silly-billy pud muffins
And their
Street-smart guff

Let the institution of your mind become a corporal being
Teasing and pleasing those eager and waiting eyes
Staring up at you with
Wanting
Drooling
Wanting
Begging
Wanting
Affections

Don’t you want to see a show worth seeing?

[Audience cheers; laughs and applauds]

Watch a movie worth seeing?

Read a book worth reading?

How do you come by this?

Create what you’ve always wanted to see, read, watch and say.

Those performers
Once peasants and beggars

Stood up from the grime and ridicule of the trash and rose above the
Plateau
To conquer their hearts

Look and see!

Those people balancing and singing with fluffy dogs
Magicians and warlocks summoning spirits to dance among stars
Poets on stage reading mixed words to nodding peers
Directors blocking actors on stage with unparalleled enthusiasm
All these creatures of the ubiquitous night
Gather and produce
The whim of their lives

But many of these masters
These

Unknowing

Are

The bus boys cleaning up after your meal
The mother alone at home with the kids
The unsociable man on the park bench
The frigid girl in the corner of the classroom
The nervous boy wandering the circus
The stern librarian in Brooklyn
The blogger in the studio apartment
The hard working abroad student on a farm
The homeless man cradling a dying dog
The celebrity chasing photographer
The undergraduate tutor
The ignored substitute teacher
The bullied Muslim student
The underprivileged south side coach
The Turkish cab driver


More and more

These warrior poets and victims to racial slurs
Commonwealth bigotry
Ghetto endorsements
Faulty criticisms

From hosting countries

And sheltered, over-privileged, disillusioned

Politicians

Bureaucrats

Religious figures

Dogs of War

Angels of retribution

Demons of industry

Ghosts of the hours and days past
To sympathize and cry for the world
Thrown into invisible and subtle chaos
Like an ocean littered with the blades of
Broken glass
The sludge toxic waste mixed in molten lava over craters of dead bodies
Or
The sand dust covering the thousands of bodies in the earth

So



What teams won the World Series?
Which movie star dates who?
What’s the latest trending diet?
What new pop sensation has been manufactured?
What new insult can talk show hosts say?
Is there someone new to blame for all the bad things in the world?

What are the things the media has told you?
And
The things it hasn’t?

It’s a
Bitter sweet symphony

A
Crucible for the faceless grins
Pointing fingers everywhere but themselves


Let’s leave the worries to our kids
I’m sure they’ll figure it out.
Allow me to thank my esteemed colleagues: Meryl Streep’s skeleton, Freddie Mercury’s ghost, Doc Hammer, George C. Scott, Doctor Emmett Brown, Marty McFly, Easter Eggs, internet message board administrators, Robert Redford, Aviator sunglasses, Don Cheadle, The Coen Brothers, the Dukes of Hazzard, Billy *** Thorton, Hammerfall, Saxon, Klaxons, Lou Reed, Spike Jonze, Michael Gondry, Guts, Son Goku, Tinkerball ***** force, the Die Nasties, The Iron Maidens, Judas Priestess, The Runaways
And many more I simply don’t have time to mention.

Now Get out of my theater.

— The End —