Thursday, March 6, 2008

cumbusy Days

Salutations, Beasties!

I wanted to share w/ you some things. Firstly, I have a new friend named cumbus, a Turkish fretless banjo-lute of soorts! I found this friend at Andy's Music not far from my apartment here in Chi-town, just this past Saturday. He rocks my socks! He has double courses, like a mandolin, but six of them, rather than four. He has a jangly reverb, kind of like a sitar, amplified by his sleek aluminum body. & best of all, because of his fretlessness, I can play him xenharmonically! I meticulously stuck strips of masking tape onto his fingerboard to indicate th pitches of 17-tone equal temperament, one of my very favorite microtonal/xenharmonic systems. I have played many a novel scale since that time, & written one song. Last night, inspired by fellow songwriter Elisabeth Blair, I traveled to Tea Essence, at 1913 N Milwaukee Ave, for open mic, & played my one song & two improvisations (th second to accompany a dancer named Rachel). It felt very, very good to do something new. I've waited a long time for this.

Photo by Jenny Blair!

I also want to share with you a project I call Book of Days. I keep track now of three different calendars: Gregorian, Discordian, & th K'iche' (Quiché) Mayan Sacred Calendar (Tzolk'in). I write a poem for each calendar day in a physical Book of Days that I've made from scrap paper & carry in my breast pocket as I go about my business. Each line of th poems comes from actual experiences (external or internal) that I have on that day, altho I like to encode th information with metaphors & juxtapositions of things that don't necessarily go together. I've decided to keep these poems on record here: Book of Days. Feel free to browse & read more about th project! I'll give one example here. I used this as lyrics to my one cumbus song that I've written so far:

2008-2-27 :: Chaos 58 :: stinkcury.

==@@@ Imox :: Thirteen Lefthanded.

slugsin but to move furthers
he collapses, cuts, we reconfigure
gradual canopy what caffeine moves
station changes tribunals, brunches
jousting figures in how-do-I-get-there
what eight finsmake el Sol to join
(continued will-I-get-its, gots to get, unfrets)
Semicongenial, backto familiar workings
relax to Set Rendezvous, Little 44
hotxplosion! we sitconsumed bean
jolly last two & Awkwardbean hello
Wisdomutt & Manytoes for a quietude
Sinagain (o do!), Leftagain in stacks
trade tit for tat, unspendagain do
northbound philosophers mumblalienate
heart heart heart heart heart heart
exceptionally built, talking meta
time to dynamite in heaven

Altho I'd never expect anyone to know these things, I can tell you a little bit about this day. Th first line refers to that groggy morning feeling, which I've called here slugsin (I think a lot of my first lines refer to this feeling). Th next refers to Jordan having had a nightmare (he collapses, cuts) & staying home for a personal day w/ his mom (we reconfigure). Gradual canopy might refer to th roof of my car as I go off to walk dogs; I don't know for sure. Th caffeine reference definitely means my coffee. I don't know about line 4, but line 5 refers to my trying to find a way to a dog's house w/ a truck blocking part of th street (jousting figures in how-do-I-get-there). El Sol in th next line refers to a card I found on th ground, probably from th game Memory, w/ a picture of th sun & a caption reading "el Sol". (I kept it in th slot on th driver's side door to my car for a while, but it eventually fell out & disappeared from my life again.) Th next line about unfrets refers to my nagging desire to get a cumbus. I don't know about line 8, but line 9 (relax to Set Rendezvous) refers to my inviting Tiffany & Jordan to come walk a dachshund named Rocco w/ me (Jordan really likes him). Little 44 refers to th I Ching's hexagram 44, sometimes translated as "Rendezvous". Hotxplosion refers to me spilling hot sauce on my pants at a Mexican restaurant, & we sitconsumed bean refers to Jordan, Tiffany & I having lunch there after walking Rocco. Th Awkwardbean hello in th next line refers to coffee beans & my visiting Chase at th Coffee Studio where he works (it usually feels a little awkward hanging out w/ Chase there, since I distract him somewhat from working). Wisdomutt & Manytoes for a quietude refers to a dog & cat that I visited that night for a special night walk. I don't know about th next two lines, but I think I read a bit of Finnegans Wake around then. I chatted w/ a fella on th train (traveling north to do open mic at th Heartland Cafe) about Western Philosophy (I recommended that he read Robert Anton Wilson as soon as possible) & wrote northbound philosophers mumblalienate. (Th "alienation" in th last word refers to th other people on th train having no idea what we talked about.) Th word "heart" kept coming up that day, & Chase & I considered that significant & synchronous (we met up again at th open mic), so I decided to write it six times for line 16. Th talking meta bit refers, I think, to a conversation about Buddhism & Ego between Chase & me in th car after th show. & th last line speaks for itself. Or doesn't.

Basically every poem has about that much cryptic reference to th mundane events of my life. Enjoy them or don't. I think they reflect th authentic chaos of everyday life. You won't find great transcendant themes or heroic deeds depicted in my Book of Days. Unless you look for those things, of course. You can find whatever you like, really, if you decide to look for it.

I sometimes like to think of it as a post-modern Epic Poem emerging stanza by stanza. I see nothing wrong with this interpretation, & I encourage you to think similarly about your own deeds, as mundane as they may seem. By living your life, you participate in an artistic happening, th unfolding of th greatest epic poem ever written: Your Subjective Reality. So don't let your days go by without appreciation.

Enough talk. Go on to my Book of Days.

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