Cameron Sharif - January 8th, 2012
If only the sun burned with a million flames the tiger we tamed and brought back to life, sitting on the edge of the bed first hand, the pale morning sun creeps up his cheek, the alarm clock empty wine glasses, behind the curtain - the rivers of lead and blood melt the stony hearts who sit in the garden’s square wearing black suits and bearing roses, the poses of our neighbors mourning loves ones past, a snake in an hour glass, licking the sand betwixt. Unfixed like paper airplanes raucous laughs and cackles, the hour grew late and in sunk the leather coach and baggy eyes and rye water. A moth in a puddle- thorax in a lake dead and floating in the center of a rainbow’s reflection on the runway, heavy baggage up the steps and closed, all beneath a boy’s magnified glass. A moldy bench and crusty leaves, the nametag rusty orange in memory of… cages on the pond lend hands to swans and some fowl, making friends the earthworms churn the dirt and make wine in an underground city. Scabs and paperclips and spines and a white light and retinal fusion a thousand inks in the eye of a storm that dabbed the land with green and purple floods. Brick buildings became jungle gym skyscrapers while the rest of us held on dangling in the clouds and when we fell it was into pillows. Landline telephones ringing feet below the soil in coffins by the hundreds, ringing loudly and desperately while the receiver conducts in white silence. Metallic sheets of statue heads pile up in the roundabout and wrinkle the steel of unsuspecting cars splinters in the glass disperse like spiders. Ferris wheel covered in mustard caused the lamentable cause that the band played on to, to his baton his mustache sweat and brow playing on under helium voices, televisions and paper cups, warming up with scales in a congregation of sisters. Blue eggs in baskets at the end of checkered carpet hallways processional tarps on the grounds, while playing on and on to a rosemary theme in Eb the sun bore a hole in the blacktop and fire ants lapped up ice cream and brought it before the ruler.
I wrote the above poem after I went for a walk. I frequently go on walks by myself. During the summer, I like setting out for an urban hike in the hours before sunset – generally 7-9pm or so. Sometimes I’ll go for longer: 5 or 6pm to 9pm. I often start out with no destination in mind and don’t give very much thought to each turn I take. I’m always interested where I wind up when the sun sets. The sun sets and I’ll find a spot to sit. I’ll sit there for a bit, and then find a bus home after night has rolled in. In the winter, my walks are different. Because it gets dark so early, these are in what feels like the dead of night. I don’t enjoy walking through crowded urban areas during these walks as much as I do quaint suburban ones, where it’s still and quiet and every noise from each house, animal or tree stands out at me. My neighborhood is quiet and lined with trees. At night it’s still and no one is outside. The 20 X 10 block plot of land called Maple Leaf is something of a labyrinthine campsite to me. There aren’t really sidewalks, and roads are wide and have dirt or gravel shoulders. But the houses are still more or less on a grid. When I walk around Maple Leaf at night, I always try to imagine it without the houses – how dense the forest would be, and how terrifying it would be to find myself alone in this forest, in the cold. It is a formidable feeling.
If I walk for much longer than an hour, my body and mind seem to warm up and become engaged on some level. I start to hear an internal dialogue particularly loudly – just the natural flow of thoughts that enter my mind. I’ve found that without distraction, this dialogue really comes to the forefront of my consciousness. At the same time the consistent rhythm of walking gives me a sort of relative stillness, and I feel like I’m no longer in motion. On these walks I’m often fascinated with how my internal thoughts are interrupted by the slightest of noises that I hear from the environment around me, and how these sensory inputs affect my thoughts and my rhythm of walking. In the past walking around and trying to be attuned to my environment has lent itself nicely to creative ideas.
I will present a piece of solo keyboard music, which like the poem above, has been influenced by the sensation of long, silent walks.
For the jam, I would be really happy to hear some soloists share their own inner dialogue. The improvisations don’t have to be influenced by walking in any way, but if they are influenced by your interactions with the environment around you, then that is a definite plus. When, or if, there are no more people who would like to improvise solo pieces, we can continue with group improvisations as usual.
Thanks and I hope to see you there!