Synaesthetic Monk's Blues

Phantasmagoria, magic lantern shows, spectacles without substance. They achieved complete sensory experiences through noise, incense, lightening, water. There may be a time when we'll attend Weather Theaters to recall the sensation of rain.

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Location: Ithaca, New York, United States

The main thing a musician would like to do, is to give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things he knows of and senses in the universe... I'm using the insides of sounds to move around in a very subtle way which, I think, ends up being inevitable. I feel it's the only solution to that particular problem that I presented myself.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Now that I know
The way it goes
You gotta pay back every penny that you owe

Twelve years old
In your mama's clothes
Shut the blinds and lock up every door

And if you hear
Someone’s comin near
Just close your eyes and make them disappear now

Years away
Finds me here today
On my own, always on my way now

So I send my friends
Gifts from where I've been
Something for the hand they’re never there to lend

Better keep those eyes
Climbing paradise
And don't pretend you won't reach it in the end now

Dearest dear
I know you been here
Why'd you run tell me why'd you disappear now

That you're not
Here with me
Seems to be the only time that I can see you clearly

I may not know
How to treat or give you what you need
But I am a gentleman who says what he means now

And now I sing
Upon my knees
And praise the kindness of a gentle breeze

I see it swell
Like a story in me to tell
Told years away and past my baby dying

So you raise them up
To heaven always hell
they’re unaware, share, give a hand to help son

Oh you give them away
But they’ll come back to you someday
Wanna know why nobody was ever there to help them

And no it ain’t fair
And if God forbid you care
It’s enough to get you in a whole lotta trouble

Oh realize
It ain’t wise to idealize
Or put your life in the hands of any struggle

Never renounce
Or ever claim to be
And never buy that freedom just ain’t free now

Ella sang
Sifting in the sand
Like a hymn within to help us understand

Heaven awaits
We’re making our stand
Glory bound and sparrow in our hand

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hi Naeem,

I know this is very random, but at this point I don't think there's anybody else I would want to talk to about this kind of stuff specifically. Feel free to read, ignore or reply to this email, I couldn't care less. But at least I'll feel better off having done it all the same.

I was at Boston this weekend to tie up the loose ends of a failing relationship for good or ill. Visiting Boston was a shock that I wasn't prepared for, and it has left me feeling disenchanted and hollow and incredibly depressed. It's strange how I never felt this way about New York City, because as an outsider to this country, I see no reason why Boston should be any different from New York, but it is. I was technically staying at one of the Harvard dorms in the neighboring city of Cambridge, but was at Boston for most of the weekend.

Firstly I was shocked seeing the student population of Harvard. I was looking forward to meeting new intelligent people who I could talk to. What I found was a slave race of wealthy white Americans who are so fucking clueless that I felt physically nauseated interacting with them. It didn't matter whether they were Pakistanis from Lahore who had come to take summer business classes, or Chinese students from Long Island who came to study science, or my own girlfriend who I finally saw for the shallow pretentious individual that she is, in the company of her new found peers. I was unable to comprehend this mutant kingdom. I couldn't even begin to talk to them. They were all bright kids, they had to have been to get accepted into Harvard - though it seems academic scholarship was merely a fraction of the money they had in their pockets. But I was just aghast, and I didn't know what to do or how to even begin to engage them in conversation. I know I haven't provided you an adequate picture of these nameless people, and any firm reasons for my attitude towards them - but I don't even need to. I don't want to put myself through that right now. It's funny in a way, but the words of the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson come to mind to describe my predicament, when he said, "Yea, I have a weird tape of that conversation, and I play it for laughs now and then - 45 minutes of failed communication, despite heroic efforts on both ends. The over-all effect is that of a career speed-freak, jacked up like the Great Hummingbird, trying to talk his way through a cordon of bemused ushers and into a reserved, front-row seat at a sold-out Bob Dylan concert.."

Going to the main city of Boston, and I will never forget Newbury street. After a while, the only recourse that I had to take was to try and get myself into some trouble, when I chose to walk around without my shirt off for a while, carrying a big white paper bag on the outside of which I had written as prominently as possible with a black marker, LOOKING FOR THE BRAND NAME, ROBOT?. Thousands of people were walking around, going to one shop after another. Armani, Gucci, Rolex, Tag Heur, Zara. Countless other names that I had never even heard of. And all these people, from all over the world, yet all white American slaves to this monumental consumerist culture. Coming out of one shop, only to hasten to the next one. In a failing pursuit of trying to buy the next best slick tie, or halter top dress that will get them laid when they walk into the swankiest bar they can find where they sip on 150 ml of German Riesling wine for $8.50. Yes, as I have mentioned before (maybe not to you), but this is the highest most efficient form of slavery, where the slave believes himself to be free.

It was absurd because the people I was with, inevitably, were a part of that slave race and thus they thought I was some kind of far out freak, which was fun for a while until I realized that I wasn't going to make the transition from freak to prophet. The only alternative left for me was find a place to hide. By what divine or cosmic grace that chose to patronize me, I finally found sanctuary on one corner of Newbury street amidst this living organic holocaust, when I heard the solitary but sure strains of bossa nova being played on an amplified acoustic guitar. Finally found an older Russian guitar player, Peter who had been playing Stan Getz's Girl from Ipanema that I'd heard. Ended up chilling there for the rest of the evening until I had to leave.

It was incredible. This guy was literally blowing my mind away, fusing strains of jazz and blues and interpreting it within a classical guitar sonic palette. I have no knowledge of Russian, and his English wasn't the best, but it made no difference. I finally found that one person who I could hang with in all of that vast city. We spoke of John McLaughlin, Vladimir Horowitz and Keith Jarrett, and he actually let me play his guitar so that I could show him some modal variations to emulate Indian classical raags relating it to the blues. Turned out that he had the same kind of laptop that I did, manufactured by Gateway! By the by, an acquaintance of his, an older American gentleman by the name of Dean Hunt, dropped by and we all hung around, talking, while Peter played his guitar. It was so spontaneous and beautiful. Neither one of us should've been there at that point of time, Peter had never played at that particular spot before, and his acquaintance Dean, is a foreign language bookseller in Harvard square. It was strange indeed that me, being all of 22 (as Dean reminded me) finally found my jam with two other hermits (in their own fashion), both who were old enough to be my father.

Unfortunately I had to leave at some point, and got caught having dinner at the most expensive seafood restaurant in Boston (oh it was a frugal meal, I assure you), listening to the other mutants converse about their shopping spree and their dumbfuck worthless lives. I spent the night ending my relationship with my girlfriend, and that was at least real. There was at least some authenticity to that, and for that I'm grateful to her. I left Boston on Sunday evening, but my last memory of the city was at least the silver lining around the dark stormcloud. Right before I took the Red Line subway to South Station, I by chance met Peter again, who was back to playing at his usual spot in Harvard square, romancing his own version of Mingus' Goodbye Pork Pie Pat. Sounds like I'm making this shit up doesn't it?

On the long bus ride back to Ithaca, I continued with my reading of Dave Guerin's Anarchism: From Theory to Practice. And more I read, it just reinforced the reality of how fucked up everything is now. Moreover, as each day goes by, the odds of achieving a different reality, a way of life that is not fettered by the chains of TV death, money, and other such expensive shit (thanks Fela), seem to be dwindling for every second that passes within which a thousand dumb motherfuckers across the world, are driving their Porsches & BMWs, going to the club to get wasted with with their retarded friends.

What kills me even as I write this, is that for my self-awareness that I have achieved, I'm still full of shit, because I'm sitting here writing this email to you my professor, not my co-conspirator among a clandestine body of political assassins. Alas, Hassan -i Sabah is long dead, and I'm merely making my own lack of a voice be heard, and so what? See in the normal course of events I wouldn't ever condone violence of any sort, but man I wish that the terrorists win. It doesn't even matter whether their cause is right or wrong, because I don't give a shit. I'm not talking about Al-Qaeda or the Aryan Brotherhood or some militant off-shoot of the Black Panther party. They all have their false causes that they are ready to sacrifice their life for, and between the vast majority of terrorist outfits, I'm sure we can gather up enough candidates to fuck up the whole world nice and proper, and send both me and you to our graves. I don't see a way to fix this world any more, so might as well bite the bullet and hope that something catastrophic happens, which plunges the entire world into chaos, murder, death, rebirth and finally salvation. Of course, if we are feeling particularly adventurous, we could dose the water supply of the world with a sufficient quantity of LSD-25, if we could find Owsley to cook it up.

You would ask of me to tone it down now, and be patient. I know there are people out there right now who are not sitting on their asses and trying to make a difference, and I for sure am not helping their cause with my diatribe. Maybe this is only a testimony to my own bubble that I've been living in for the past 3 years in Ithaca, and Ithaca is one helluva place to be constructing your own bubble reality in. But I've been around the block long enough to know that it doesn't take much to change one's grip on what is real. And what IS real anyway? I just know that we want the world, and we want it now, or so said Morrison. and until then, hand me that spliff while I get by with Hendrix's words:

I know for sure I don't live today
No sun comin through my windows
Feel like I'm livin' at the bottom of a grave
No-ho sun comin through my windows
Feel like Im livin' at the bottom of a grave
I wish you'd hurry up and rescue me
So I can be on my miserable way
(well), I don't live today
Maybe tomorrow, I just cant say
Its such a shame to waste your time away like this existing
Oh, there aint no life no where...

Down, man
(are) you experienced?
Get experienced
Get experienced

The above excerpt is from an email, that I sent to my politics professor earlier today, and possibly one of the rare pieces of honest literature that I have produced.