—dedicated to Dan and to his best friend
We’ll talk now of what he was.
It may serve as antidote and sedative,
As palliative to what he has become.
There once was a man who wanted
To be different, to be new, to be himself,
Influenced, of course, by the past,
The present, and the future,
But not owned by and certainly not
Speaking for any of them, speaking for himself.
He was to be his own new man
A work of his own art,
And that art really did not need to entertain
Or be accepted. Of course, if it were,
That would be amazing, dazzling, fitting,
But that was never the great thing.
It was as if he were a scholar
Whose job it was to quietly, steadily,
In a large way or a small one, to
Quietly, steadily, and quite seriously,
With enormous intention,
And yet no thought at all,
Absorb though exposure
Strange and random images,
Music, noise, sounds, thoughts,
Poetry, dangers, bliss—
Drink all the transporting tea of this
And then to breathe it in the heart
Of this new self that was himself
Influenced, of course, as we have said
By the past, by the press of all,
But not owned by any of it.
He would make a sound, a song, a music
That would speak a simple or
Complicated truth, or joke, or twist of fate.
A 12 or 13 philosophy—his own yen yang,
Surrealistic hog calling if that would
Bring I into B-B-B-B–Being,
Tell of Lake Tear of the Clouds,
And a spear through the ambient veil,
Or, now here’s where it gets personal,
About a call to a woman in the night,
A test of love she passed driving
Backwards down Spring Street waving.
It would involve chance elements.
The statement would be open to interpretation.
The participation of the listener and the viewer
Would play a part.
That’s how new it was meant to be.
This art, his sound, his music
Would exist and live in the air
Around the listener, but
Freedom, real freedom,
Not a catch phase version,
A real freedom searched for and found
Would fly in the space
Where his song was being born.
I’d like to end this story there
On that high and positive note.
I will resist Morrison’s deathless dirge,
And only say that what we have talked about
For these past few minutes went away.
He went away. Everything went away.
Not just the music, but the place
That he was so close to creating.
It is floating now, unformed,
In that still, chill oxygen
That fuels the dreams