Sunday, July 5, 2009

over my head (1)

over my head

music, over my head, divine; in my groin, profane, meeting, mating in uncommon coitus of melody & counterpoint. sounding in my heart's bedsprings, in my soul's cloistered cell, behind the twelve symmetrical bars of racial memory. my song, an abstraction, the wail of fatal spirit descending down into matter, into the prenatal wetness of birth canal, into the subjective chaos of infancy & early childhood, into the magic circle circumscribing unfulfilled, unregenerate substance; activating the latent birth gifts of the race; setting in motion a process to make the abstract, real & to make the song, flesh...

my song, enfleshed in africanisms, enslaved, bound to the harmonies & discords of europe – my song, a naked savage in a dying church, chained to a pew. how strange this integration of heredity & environment. my anthems reek of ragtime, my hymns of rhythm & blues; my offertory sentences are progressive improvisations, my doxologies, boogie-woogie tapestries. on the other hand, my jazz is littered with mysticism, my ballads belabored with biblical imagery, & much of the sex in my blues is exalted. how strange the body of my song. how will it mature? can it reproduce itself in the minds & hearts of men?

my song, heated red hot in the forge of the church, in the fires of adolescent love, then immersed to tempered hardness in the confluent neptunian rivers of rock & roll, motown soul & down home blues. my song, dissolving in acid, was neutralized & reconstituted by basic bebop, progressive & unfettered jazz. my song, a matrix wherein the dynamic interplay of polarities, male & female, them, traditional & modern, conservative & progressive, black & white resolve themselves, synthesize, build – my home in the woods, my house by the side of the road from which the forces of my selfhood are released.

my song, enfleshed with definite form & emerging from a matrix it has itself created, is released through the voice upon the world outside. my song craves an audience, critical performance feedback to assimilate, to evaluate; seeks a great musical work to serve, & ultimately to become. the feedback comes, sometimes harsh, sometimes exacting. & so begins the polishing, the embellishments, the distinctive touches for which i am to be known. my song, a lifesong, whose lyrics are a lifepoem; whose form, key, melody & harmonies are the sounds of a self unfolding...

having sung my song with power & conviction with every trick of technique, every embellishment of phrase that i know, have learned over a lifetime, i take time to reflect on the reviews, on the criticisms of my performance. i find my song wanting. it poorly communicates that ray of spirit within me, that which would vitalize its earthy contents. it seems devoid of significant spiritual experience. i must look for new material to incorporate into my song; that might ignite my own spiritfire to flux my worldly lyrics, my sensuous melody down to its basic elements; down to its rare mettle. over my head, i hear the music of the spheres; i hear a song of perfection...

i have found a new stage upon which to sing my song, i have restructured its melody, changed many of its lyrics, altered its rhythms. my voice has deepened, my phrasing more precise & my delivery has improved. i have learned to close that creative circuit, which eliminates the distance, eliminates the difference between myself & my audience. i can take the energy they lend me, step it up & give it back to them in an oscillating crescendo of emotive power; i can feel them feel what i am feeling. my song has grown as i have grown; perhaps one day it may become a part of a new world spiritual, an ornament or accent or a minor melodic passage, – & i, a part of a new world order.

©Joseph McNair;2009

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