Jack Foley

 

JAC-Foley-

 

(USA)

 

1. MUSIC: HOMOPHONIA ON RILKE’S ARCHAÏSCHER TORSO APOLLOS * MATCHED WITH HOPKINS’ “HENRY PURCELL”: SONNET TO SONNET

 

Fear Cantor’s nick, sign underhearted, hopped!
HAVE fair fallen, O fair, fair have fallen, so dear

 

Dare in D. Ow, gain ape full, rife then harbor.

To me, so arch-especial a spirit as heaves in Henry Purcell,


Sign torso. G/luck, knock, we find candelabra,

An age is now since passed, since parted: with the reversal

 

In dame sign show ’em, or view rook, disrobed.

Of the outward sentence low lays him, listed to a heresy, here.

 

Dick hailed and glanced. Sons countered, nicked their Bug.

Not mood in him nor meaning, proud fire or sacred fear,

 

Her breast Dick blended, and in rocking Sun drew hen.

Or love or pity or all that sweet notes not his might nursle:

 

Whirr lending conked Nick, whined at freckled gain.

 

It is the forgèd feature finds me; it is the rehearsal

 

Sue Daner’s mitt,—she the lawyer’s drug.

Of own, of abrúpt sélf there so thrusts on, so throngs the ear.

 

Suns donned diesel; Stein insults and curtsies.

Let him oh! with his air of angels then lift me, lay me! only I’ll

 

Underwear, Schultz! Torn church sics Tigger’s—hurts,

Have an eye to the sakes of him, quaint moonmarks, to his pelted plumage under

 

And film, Mort—Nick’s so he robbed a fella,

Wings: so some great stormfowl, whenever he has walked his while

 

And break, Nick, out of all Stein’s Random,

The thunder-purple seabeach, plumèd purple-of-thunder,

 

Outs wheee as stern: then dad is kinda stellar.

If a wuthering of his palmy snow-pinions scatter a colossal smile

 

He, Dick, Nick say it: Dumas’ sign: May-be end him!

Off him, but meaning motion fans fresh our wits with wonder.

 

* Rilke:

 

Wir kannten nicht sein unerhörtes Haupt,

darin die Augenäpfel reiften. Aber

sein Torso glüht noch wie ein Kandelaber,

in dem sein Schauen, nur zurückgeschraubt,

 

sich hält und glänzt. Sonst könnte nicht der Bug

der Brust dich blenden, und im leisen Drehen

der Lenden könnte nicht ein Lächeln gehen

zu jener Mitte, die die Zeugung trug.

 

Sonst stünde dieser Stein entstellt und kurz

unter der Schultern durchsichtigem Sturz

und flimmerte nicht so wie Raubtierfelle;

 

und bräche nicht aus allen seinen Rändern

aus wie ein Stern: denn da ist keine Stelle,

die dich nicht sieht. Du mußt dein Leben ändern.

 

 

 

My non homophonic translation:

TORSO: ARCHAIC APOLLO

            (Rilke: 1908)

 

We cannot know the fabulous head

Where the eyeapples ripened. Yet

The torso burns. A candelabrum

In which gaze glows,

Blinding. And the soft turn

Of the loins—where genitals

Burn, and procreation flares.

Otherwise,

Nothing but destruction, fragment, defacement, stone—

Not the wild animal’s fur we feel.

Otherwise,

This star would not have burst forth,

Raging with light

Until: There is no place that does not see you.

 

You must change your life.

 

 

 

2. MUSIC: AFTER THE CONCERT: FOR GUILLERMO GALINDO

 

“Surely this was a sign.”

—Guillermo Galindo

 

what

are the limits

 

yes, what

            are the limits?

 

of

music?

what is

            an “instrument”?

 

can

anyone

 

can a discarded child’s toy—stuffed—

            become music?

 

(even the deaf?)

hear it? (isn’t music “vibration”?—isn’t music “feeling”?)

 

for john cage

there was “SILENCE”

 

this

is a piece

 

for guillermo

galindo (galindog!)

 

of

writing in Braille

 

there is nothing

but

 

can

it

 

SOUND

 

become

music?

 

—and the magic

of Tarot!

 

—and the Magick

of Tarot!

 

CAGEUNCAGED“SILENCE”INTHECROWDEDROOMWASNOTSILENCEBUTTHECHA

TTEROFPEOPLETALKINGWHILETHEMUSICIANSSTOODPOISEDTOPLAYBUTPLAYE

DONLYOCCASIONALLYEVERYTHINGPLANNEDEVERYTHINGEXECUTEDWITHEN

ORMOUSELEGANCEMARIACHISBEAUTIFULINTHEEVENINGLIGHTTHEIRSOMBRE

ROSTHEIRVASTSOMBREROS

 

SUDDENSOUNDOFWOMEN’SVOICESTRANSFORMINGAROOMASUNEXPECTEDASA

SUDDENSHOWERBRINGINGRELIEFFROMHEATORANEXPLETIVEFROMANUN’SMO

UTH“OHSHIT”SAIDTHEGOODANDREVERENEDWOMAN

ASSHESTUBBEDHERINNOCENTTOE

 

…After seeing Juan Jaula es John Cage (Zen Cōhen, 2015)

a documentary on composer Guillermo Galindo

                                                           Guillermo Galindo es Juan Jaula!

 

 

 

3. MUSIC: BOUQUET (“KITKA”) *

 

If you hear women singing at Leila’s Café

If you hear women singing at Leila’s Café

Singing softly at first and then in full voice

Singing softly at first and then in full voice

And suddenly, surprisingly

And suddenly, surprisingly

Laughing between their wonderful songs

Laughing between their wonderful songs

In a full range of singing

In a full range of singing

What bass what alto what soprano—what rounds of sounds

What bass what alto what soprano—what rounds of sounds

Women loudly harmonious dissonant

Women loudly harmonious dissonant

Raising the roof at Leila’s

Raising the roof at Leila’s

Making a sudden space of Magick

Making a sudden space of Magick

Where you had expected only a tuna fish sandwich

Where you had expected only a tuna fish sandwich

THEN

You may think of yourself as blessed

You may think of yourself as blessed

And of these women as Angels of Ecstasy

And of these women as Angels of Ecstasy

Though they are fully women and not Angels

Though they are fully women and not Angels

They are Angels nonetheless   •

 

And their song is the sound of Heaven

Rising from Leila’s in ultimate, ravenous Ecstasy   •

 

Gone only when they cease

 

 

* “Kitka” (which means “bouquet”) is the name of a wonderful women’s singing group. I was sitting with a friend at a café in Berkeley. Suddenly the women sitting across from us burst into ecstatic song. It was Kitka—rehearsing in ecstasy.

 

 

 

4. MUSIC: NOTES ON TONY PALMER’S 1995 FILM ON HENRY PURCELL, ENGLAND, MY ENGLAND

 

There’s a sort of story line that’s a bit hard to follow, but the main point of the film is a terrific visual presentation of magnificent music superbly performed. Oh, what Purcell does with the bass line. And those drums! And those trumpets! Oh, how wonderfully dramatic it all is. I’m going to have to see it again—I’m sure there are things I missed. But you come away from the film with a tremendous sense of that marvelous music and of the period as well. (How wonderful Robert Stephens is as John Dryden. And “Fairest Isle” is sung during the ending credits! How can you not watch them?) Perhaps the most moving moment is Susan Graham’s rendition of Dido’s lament from Dido and Aeneas—sung amid images of death. But there are many moving moments. A tremendous performance of Saul and the Witch of Endor. What can one say except that the film is entirely worthy of the music it presents. The roaring times of Purcell’s life (and of his theater) are here, richly, lovingly displayed. Nell Gwyn. Samuel Pepys. All here. The jumble of history. Then, now. The “Sixties.” He was England’s Gershwin. (Purcell dead at 35 or 36, Gershwin at 38.) In the name of God Amen, I, Henry Purcell, of the City of Westminster, gentleman, being dangerously ill as to the constitution of my body, but in good and perfect mind and memory (thanks be to God) do by these presents publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament. And I do hereby give and bequeath unto my loving wife, Frances Purcell, all my estate both real and personal of what nature and kind soever.  Death near everything and everyone of that time: a magnificent death scene for Rebecca Front as the Queen—attractive and witty as she is “bled,” as she suffers, as she dies. The story of Purcell locked out of his house, in the rain, “catching” his death. (“There is a catch in it.” “There is no catch in it.”) Years. They disappear—

 

*

 

Only the one who has raised the lyre

(who are you?) only the one who has descended

into the realm

 

of the dead (the poor creatures) and sang there with such passion

that love was released and yet lost—only that singer

(the look of bewildered grace on the face of the newly dead)

can praise

endlessly

 

only the one (who are you?) who has eaten

poppy with the dead (the taste will not leave me)

cannot lose (though he has lost the woman)

the note

 

look at the reflection in the pond

hard to make out (what is there?)

grasp the Image

 

only in Doubleness

are the voices (I am lost in time)

eternal

and

full                     of tenderness   *

 

Jack

 

* loose translation, with additions, of Rilke’s I.9, “Sonnets to Orpheus.” Purcell was known as “Orpheus Britannicus.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BIO

Jack Foley (born 1940) has published 13 books of poetry, 5 books of criticism, and Visions and Affiliations, a “chronoencyclopedia” of California poetry from 1940 to 2005. His radio show, Cover to Cover, is heard on Berkeley station KPFA every Wednesday at 3; his column, “Foley’s Books,” appears in the online magazine, The Alsop Review. With poet Clara Hsu, Foley is co-publisher of Poetry Hotel Press. In 2010 Foley was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Berkeley Poetry Festival, and June 5, 2010 was proclaimed “Jack Foley Day” in Berkeley. The Fall 2012, vol. 5, no. 1 issue of the online Tower Journal is a Festschrift for Foley: www.towerjournal.com, go to Archive. EYES, Foley’s Selected Poems, has appeared from Poetry Hotel Press, and a chapbook, LIFE, has appeared from Word Palace Press. Christopher Bernard has called Foley “a many-tongued master…one of American poetry’s essential thinkers and practitioners.” Michael McClure has called him “our firebrand experimentalist”: “he holds his torch high so the reader can have more light.” With his wife Adelle, Foley performs his work (often “multivoiced” pieces) frequently in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their performances can be found on YouTube.

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