Two young men inspect a batch of sunset photos that one of them has just taken with his smartphone, thoroughly oblivious to the fact that they are blocking the view that it took me half an hour to compose and another half hour to wait for. I exchange knowing headshakes of disbelief with the grey nomad couple beside me who have been sipping white wine and observing my careful tripod and camera adjustments all this time.
Later, I congratulate myself for taking their inconsiderate behaviour into my stride and choosing to view them as meaningful parts of my landscape, however unpeopled I often prefer my public spaces to be.
In the swift whirl of time music is a constant, reminding us of what we were and of that toward which we aspire. Art thou troubled? Music will not only calm, it will ennoble thee.
—Ralph Ellison, Living With Music
I have been acquainting myself with my small vinyl collection of Jean-Luc Ponty this week. Of the four albums of his that I own, I had previously only listened to one of them, and that was many years ago. His name had entered my radar sometime in my early twenties, in the fledgling phase of what would become a lasting affair with the music of Frank Zappa, and so, each time I spotted a Jean-Luc Ponty album I would diligently add it to my collection, assuming that one day I would fully appreciate his music without the psychological support of Frank Zappa’s presence.
If music has ennobled me, and I believe it has, it has nevertheless failed to equip me with the vocabulary to write about music. I have wanted for days to write you a poem about John McLaughlin’s Lotus Feet performed here with Jean-Luc Ponty and Zakir Hussain, but my desire to share the music and video has overwhelmed my patience. I will keep working on the poem, but in the meantime I would like simply to direct your gaze toward the radiance of John McLaughlin’s smile. If there is one thing I truly aspire to, it is to learn how to smile like that, again. Also, the music is painfully sublime:)
Credit: The original photo (taken during my 2014-2015 road trip) that I used to construct this piece is from part of a larger series of murals painted by artists of the Elliston Community on the walls of Elliston Community Hall, South Australia. I trust my appropriation of it is not inappropriate…
I sleep and dream you’re with me,
Then I wake and dream you’re not;
My every dream with certainties
That prove to be their opposite.
It’s when I’m drifting in and out
I’ve often wished you’d spare me
From your familiar second thoughts
And gently shared misgivings,
Though lately when you’re lingering
It comforts me to guess
Your soul believes my sleeping dream
To be your home address.
One day I’ll dream you’re with me
And the dream won’t come to pass.