poemimage

Where text meets image. Where the visual intersects the literary.

Month: April, 2015

Letters From Attica [an excerpt] by Sam Melville (1934 – 1971) & the Frederic Rzewski Composition ‘Coming Together’

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I think the combination of age and the greater coming together is responsible for the speed of the passing time.

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it’s six months now and i can tell you truthfully few periods in my life have passed so quickly.

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i am in excellent physical and emotional health.

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there are doubtless subtle surprises ahead but i feel secure and ready.

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As lovers will contrast their emotions in times of crisis, so am i dealing with my environment.

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in the indifferent brutality, incessant noise, the experimental chemistry of food, the ravings of lost hysterical men, i can act with clarity and meaning.

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i am deliberate–sometimes even calculating–seldom employing histrionics except as a test of the reactions of others.

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i read much, exercise, talk to guards and inmates, feeling for the inevitable direction of my life.

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Sam Melville (Letters From Attica)

Above is how the spelling appears on more than one site.

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I narrated this text four years ago or so with professional musicians performing Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together & Attica.

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Sounding this text to the music was one of the most emotional things I’ve experienced: hypnotic, exhausting and exhilarating.

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Frederic Rzewski selected this body of text for his composition.

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A performance featuring narration by stage actor Steve Ben Israel with Frederic Rzewski on piano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSuuwJFw4wU  The video opens in a new window so you can follow the text here if you wish.

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Credits and information about this recording: http://incessantnoise.blogspot.ca/2009/08/frederic-rzewski-coming-together.html

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Good Friday

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Jesus swayed to the music, grooving in the rain.

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Not yet a prisoner at Abu Ghraib.

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The rope he used whipping the parasites in the Temple

passed hand to hand.

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Like the very young, he also desired peace and love.

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The authorities posed him, for sport,

 in their carnival of madness.

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Roll away the stone.

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Before midnight.

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Before midnight,

a young artist storms the stage.

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Wearing red oak leaves,

 illuminating

the vast, glistening night.

casting

Unknown.

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Commingling with rain & shadows.

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Crying forth her gravelled composition.

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Melanie Safka performing Birthday of the Sun live at Woodstock (1969):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Bwz0idx7s

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Roll away the stone.

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Source material:

Christ’s Crucifixion by Diego Velaquez

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Photograph of

Abu Ghraib prisoner

@ Wikipedia.org

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Woodstock photo (detail) uncredited, found online.

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I’ve digitally recomposed new images for non-commercial

purposes of commentary.

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