Schoenberg, Kandinsky, and the Blue Rider


I got the book. It is called "Schoenberg, Kandinsky, and the Blue Rider." This is the one I saw in the window of Counterpoint Books. This is the one I got.

I also picked up a copy of Bomb Magazine. I have not ever read it. I hope it's interesting. It was expensive. That's all I can spend until next month. I have to save. I have to eat. Got to buy those cigarettes. They keep me alive.

The Kandinsky book came with a Shoenberg CD. I ain't ever listened to the cat. It's pretty crazy. Kind of depressing. Reminds me of what happened at work today. I got into it with a girl who works upstairs. She was piping about her night, how she went out with a bunch of friends who got fired, and that when they were at the bar this guy wouldn't play anything but sad cover songs.

"We were all screaming, 'Please play something happy.' "

"Did he?" I asked.

"He did a Bon Jovi song,"

"Which one?"

"I don't know."

"Was it Young Guns II?"

[Fitz pipes in with his rendition of "Blaze of Glory."]

Yeah, Shoenberg seems kind of depressing. Interesting though. It reminds me of those elephants in Thailand. Those are my favorite musicians.

Anyway, I didn't get any hot chocolate. The line was way too slow and long. I went to a bar instead. I got tequila and red wine. I drank the tequila and winced. I watched this guy on the other side of the bar smile at me. He liked me wincing I guess. I have no idea. I wanted to punch him though, or, at the very least, tell him I don't drink warm tequila. (Most bartenders would know to chill tequila, but I got the light bulb of Hollywood; took him 5 minutes to figure out who he sold the tequila too after I handed him my card about 14 nanoseconds to the nanosecond.)

Outside of the bar (Birds on Franklin) , I sat and thought about reading the Kandinsky. He turns me on you know? I didn't read though. There was this old cat there. He must have been 83. (That's a guess, but I think I'm spot on). He was chatting it up with a fine specimen of the female species. She had this low cut number on, and her tits were hanging every which way, and that made it pretty hard to pay attention to their conversation, but I got the gist of it.

"So what happened with your date?" old man asks.

"He didn't look anything like his picture," she sips her beer. "He wasn't no six foot two. Then he had a problem with my height..."

She went on. The old man listens patiently and says, "What was his personality like?"

This gets her all hot and bothered and she is off. I snatch the open seat, and decide to lay into the old man and find out what's getting his tail out at 1 in the morning at his age, and he lays it on me pretty slow, talking about how I am Iranian (because that's how all conversations begin with me being that I'm so ethnically identifiable and beautiful) and how he loves Kirostami, the filmmaker, and that takes us through usual chess moves around Keats and Browning before we even get to the nitty gritty.

"I moved back here 5 days ago," he tells me. "I was in Texas before, Portland before that."

"What was Portland like?"

"Conservative," he sips his coffee. "I am a social person. They were nice and friendly there, but you didn't get past a certain point."

"Mmmm," I say.

I say this a lot. Too much I think. He didn't seem to notice though. James Brown was pumping in the background. I looked down at my foot. It had a mind of its own. I let it pump. It wanted to dance. The rest of me didn't though.

"You been married?" I asked.

"I have had 5 life partners. I believe in marriage. It's hard for artists though. There is so much expectation."

"Sounds like a human thing," I say.

"Yeah," he agrees.

I could say more about the old man, but I don't want to, except to say that I talked to an old man. He was old. I was young. It made me think how all my friends are over 70. That I am going to be a hit at the senior homes.

I already know this though. My first job was working at a Senior home. They liked the way I poured Sanka.

Pearl Jam was big then.

I didn't give two shits about them. I was about the free food we got as waiters. I was one hungry kid.

I did like performing for those old folks though. I would act zany. I would be what they expected. I would be a clown.

Tonight Dick, the old man, and I talked about Charlie Chaplin. I love Charlie. Those movies are some of the greatest inspirations for me. So much so, that as he talked about him, I thought about going to work on Monday as Chaplin. I could get the little mostache and everything.


Radish King said...

I obsess over Kandinsky. I got in trouble at the Seattle Art Musuem during their impressionist show. I sat in front of a tiny Kandinsky painting for 2 hours and it made the docent nervous. I was asked ot move on. The painting was simple, a church and some mountains. Very few brushstrokes. It looked as though someone was holding a flashlight behind the painting. The light was remarkable.

I have a Kandinsky poem here

Pirooz M. Kalayeh said...

Yeah, Kandinsky. Amazing. I remember going to New York just to see those paintings. The Pollock drawings were nice. Weeping Woman. Mmmm. Miro fantastic! But the Kandinsky I couldn't leave the room. I didn't either. I went right up to the painting. Put my nose right in it.

I read your poem on my lunch break. I was thankful to have it. It was sexy, and I like how it turned me on. Not in a sexual way, but because I knew. It's a painter's poem. Poets too.

As I was reading your poem, I looked up and saw this kid screaming round the corner.

"Peep! Peep!" he says, holding his junk.

Then he just whips it out next to the bank and goes. One of the funniest things I have ever seen.

The mother goes to stop him, but he is well on his way.

I look over at the other smokers. I look down at your poem. It makes me happy to have so many gifts.

This story is mine back to you.

Lynn said...

Schoenberg reminds you of those elephants in Thailand, the ones in the band? The same ones whose paintings I've seen for sale in Seattle’s Pioneer District?

I don’t see the connection. I just grabbed and began playing my one and only Schoenberg CD, and he sounds like war to me. The elephants’ sound is peaceful.

Pirooz M. Kalayeh said...

Yeah, I hear you, lynn. The elephant cd ("Thai Elephant Orchestra", David Soldier and Richard Lair) sounds peaceful.

It sounds peaceful to me too.

Shoenberg ("Second String Quartet in F Sharp Minor") was slightly jarring and peaceful too.

This is what you made me think of...


Elephants are animals. Animals are much more at peace in comparison to human beings. The Thai elephants are trained. They have been around humans. They are not as peaceful as elephants in the jungle. These elephants are more elephants. They don't think about when they are going to be fed by humans. They just find the food from the jungle. They are self sufficient.

Maybe, Shoenberg was like an elephant.

He didn't play what pleased the populace. He did it for his own joy. Still, he was trying to create tension against the form. He wanted to do the opposite of the dominant norm in classical music. He wanted to challenge what music could be.

This is not unlike the elephants. They are very well trained to pick up their instruments. Their trainers have used a whip and reward system to teach them to bang the instruments. This is against their nature. Their nature is to use their trunks. It is to stomp their feet. It is not to play music. This is a human trait. It makes absolutely no sense. Why teach an elephant to play music?

This is also like Schoenberg. Why play music like an elephant? Why make it jar? Why not play it like Beethoveen? Why not make it pleasing?

This tension between what an elephant is and what music could be for Schoenberg is the war for me.

The beauty of the idea and the freedom to try them is the peace for me.

Isn't that strange? and wonderful?

In either case, it's just my personal taste. I like it when contradictory things can coalesce. It also rubs me the wrong way.

Mostly, listening to Schoneberg and the elephants makes me feel these waves of opposition continually.

Lynn said...

Beautiful comment.

You write, The beauty of the idea and the freedom to try them is the peace for me.

That made me think: It's good Schoenberg had the freedom; it's too bad the elephants have no choice in the matter.

kim essex said...

holy shit pirooz, i just googled kandinsky and found you! my naropa thesis was on kandinsky. it's late though, so i'll be reading this tomorrow.