KSE #142, BILL SHUTE, PLINK , PLONK & SCRATCH
(Sound Library Series, Volume 46)
One of two paired chapbooks for August 2009, both dedicated to the late SKY SUNLIGHT SAXON. This six-page, six-section poem began as a Sound Library volume inspired by the pointillistic free-improv of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and was going to be my poetic attempt to echo that technique in words. It still is to some extent, at least sections 2-5. However, as Sky Sunlight Saxon became a presence in Austin, Texas, in the spring of 2009, he somehow entered my consciousness and found his way into my thoughts for this piece. Then when Sky passed away suddenly in June 2009, I felt that I needed to dedicate this work to his memory AND to make him a physical presence in it, which I did in the sixth section. So what you have is a work framed with the specifics of Texas life circa 2009—-the gaybashing incident at Chico’s in El Paso, Dylan’s Never Ending Tour’s recent stops in Lubbock and Corpus Christi, Governor Rick Perry’s strange comments about Texas seceding from the United States, the ignorant comments of so many Texans on the subject of health care reform, the hunger among Texans for college football to start again in the Fall—-and building up to Sky Sunlight Saxon’s appearance in Austin in the Spring of 2009 and how that affected those of us who noticed it (and those who did not notice it) and how it fit into the overall picture. In between is a series of closely observed, pointillistic studies, animated by Sky’s spirit, that grow out of the hundred-degree-plus summer heat. The epigraph this time is from Keith Waldrop:
I begin now to write down all the places I have not been—-
starting with the most distant.
I build houses that I will not inhabit.
(from “Poet”, 1997)
Another word about the unique free-improv aesthetic of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, the aesthetic that animates this work. SME founder-mainman John Stevens always emphasized a LISTENING-based improvisational model. At the time of FACE TO FACE, the SME had been pared down to a duo, John Stevens on percussion (and occasional cornet, used in a coloristic manner), and Trevor Watts on soprano saxophone, an incredibly terse and elliptical soprano saxophone. In his liner notes to the album, John Stevens wrote: Face to Face means exactly that. When Trevor and I perform it, we are seated to enable the drums and the saxophone to be approximately on the same level. We face each other and play at each other, allowing the music to take place somewhere in the middle. This is very much an outward process. We are trying to be a total ear to the other player, allowing our own playing to be of secondary importance, apart from something that enables the other player to follow the same process—-the main priority being to hear the other player totally. I feel that as a poet, particularly in THIS piece, I am engaged in a similar process, although my partners are both my immediate environment and the blank open-field poetic page, the three of us comprising a SPONTANEOUS POETRY TRIO. Or not…
I owned a copy of the original Emanem Records vinyl LP back in the 70s, when I was in highschool, and played the grooves off it. Emanem has reissued the album now on CD, with extra material from the same period. You can purchase one at http://www.emanemdisc.com/E4003.html .
In the US, you can get any three KSE chaps for $10 postpaid. Might I suggest this one, accompanied by its partner chapbook, A. J. Kaufmann’s SYMBOLISME PSYCHEDELIQUE, and Zachary C. Bush’s new and awesome SPIN. Send a check (or well-concealed cash) made payable to Bill Shute, 14080 Nacogdoches Rd. #350, San Antonio, Texas, 78247. Outside the US, you can get any book for $5 postpaid, payable via paypal. Just write to django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com and request a paypal invoice.
We have a number of other chaps still available, although about half of these are down to the last few copies so I’ll be deleting a number of them in a few weeks…act now!
#139, A. J. KAUFMANN, antiquewhite rain (sound library series, volume 45) ;
#140, BILL SHUTE, subtraction ;
#137, ALEATHIA DREHMER, circles ;
#134, RONALD BAATZ, headlights from the otherside of the world ;
#138, BILL SHUTE, the stumble (sound library series, volume 44) ;
#132, DOUG DRAIME, knox county (photographs by Lena Ozuna) ;
#135, BILL SHUTE, stereo action (sound library series, volume 42) ;
#130, MISTI RAINWATER-LITES, odd years ;
#126, MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH, grey rage (dyed) ;
#127, BRAD KOHLER, dog nights, dog days ;
#129, MIRA HORVICH / BILL SHUTE, suspension ;
#119, A. J. KAUFMANN, satori in berlin (x-berg songs) ;
#133, BILL SHUTE, this day without (sound library series, volume 41) ;
#131, BILL SHUTE, acres (sound library series, volume 40) ;
#122, LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABAL, still human ;
#116, MISTI RAINWATER-LITES, next exit: ten .
As always, thanks for your support of contemporary poetry, small presses, and KSE, now in our FOURTH calendar year of operation, having issued 144 chapbooks in that time by nearly FORTY poets. Stay tuned for write-ups on the other two August releases, A. J. Kaufmann’s SYMBOLISME PSYCHEDELIQUE and Zachary C. Bush’s SPIN.