Tuesday, April 05, 4050

I Heard It Is One of Many Possibilities

See invitation here. Taken from a myriad lines graciously contributed to the public domain by a number of contributors and available for use here. Lines were written by people who would describe themselves as poets and people who wouldn't. Age group: 8 - 78yrs of age.


I heard cycles.

I heard a chirp.
I heard a foghorn.
I heard love letters.
I heard boom-boom!
I heard the fan whirl.
I heard the tube-light.

I heard a message beep.

I heard there was a house.
I heard the crackling fire.
I heard he drunk it dry.
I heard it just the other day.
I heard what you didn’t hear.
I heard a mosquito buzzing in my ear.

I heard the jackhammer late at night.
I heard the silence fall and shatter.

I heard new-sense (nonsense).
I heard mathematical tables.
I heard the songs of my past.
I heard it through the grapevine.
I heard that heaven is a beautiful place.
I heard it will be the great performance.
I heard I should come and watch, so I did.
I heard it all but it wasn’t true after all.

I heard the bulbul fart on the neem tree.
I heard a woodpecker hammering at an oak.
I heard a flower pot crash on your head.
I heard somebody knocking at the door.
I heard an argument on the second floor.
I heard the pressure cooker on the first floor.
I heard entropy is winding down.
I heard percussion coming out of a speaker.

I heard that I can be successful if I work hard.
I heard that Delhi Belly knocks you out.
I heard it was ok to be gay if you don’t say.
I heard you should never cut your toenails in a public toilet.
I heard the world sticks to maiden answers.

I heard the unhindered turning of the world.

I heard a siren, then someone called my name.

I heard, three days: taptap TAP TAP TAP taptap.

I heard the tape dispenser crashing to the floor.
I heard that being on time didn’t matter in
I heard tigers growling in the empyrean drainpipe.
I heard the shriek of elipses colliding into a full stop.

I heard Eric Clapton streaming from Fillmore East, 1970.
I heard that life can be beautiful with a positive mind.

I heard that air travel isn't the main cause of global warming.

I heard paper being collated and then stapled; people laughing.

I heard her say she was bored and that it was a deep kind of thing.

I heard everyone is in their 30s or early 40s who were kids in the 80s.

I heard that it’s slightly difficult and yet quite fulfilling at the same time.

I heard of us in the forgotten village, the one past the last railway stop.

I heard the best minds of my generation blame the silence so offered.


It is a house that grew around a tree.
It is near the faux-green
Chicago River.
It is the same place over and over again.
It is early morning, and the light is turning.
It is as if I might catch some fish for you.
It is as if you might reel me in when I needed some safety.

I heard a squirrel nibbling on my window this morning.
I heard contented cooing, and walked in to find pigeons in the room.
I heard what the Zen master said to the hot dog salesman: make me one with everything.
I heard the reel swishing in the wind and the crunch of my crispy French fries.
I heard my soul sing in the breeze just like the rustling of leaves casting shadows as I write.

It is important to love nature whether inside or outside.
It is turquoise, glass, and film strips flapping in the wind.
It is a flowing wall of images blowing in the breeze.
It is the kind of garden you never want to leave.
It is our job to break laws if they’re blocking the doors.
It is a particular reality rescued to fit their anecdotes.
It is nevertheless never too bright to say hello to the sun.

I heard the train - the invisible train - that people think is a train only because they can hear it.

It is tenuous.
It is eclectic.

It is what it is.
It is what they say it is.
It is addictive.
It needs staples.
It is quite a feat.
It is crowded.
It is crowded.
It is totally theatrical activity.
It is dry, warm, lit simply beautiful.
It is an attractive distraction to hear your ring tone.
It is my favourite time of day when the sleep starts from my legs.
It is crowded, sweaty and a bit dark.
It is a small room full of bewildered chatty people driven by beer and boredom.
It is a madhouse of form-filling, need and endurance.
It is a room too small for two.
It is good that we are not friends.
It is to be done today.

I heard about the Good Friday and Easter Sunday services at the Khasi Jaintia Christian Fellowship.
I heard him through the night and it was exquisite and painful and I wept for two out of five hours.
I heard the nubile girls of the then metropolis muffle their pain of tattoos with warm starch water.
I heard the man on his cellphone say, don't worry, soon they'll figure out you're gay, and then you'll be out of the army.

It is so fun to play with the baby.
It is an educated animal.
It is never just peaceful.
It is plastic, yellow, circular.
It is a gaudy yellow toy submarine.
It is better that we will never be.
It is not what it was just two weeks ago.
It is trying to be something that actually does not need to be tackled in the first place.
It is the quintessence of the abstractability in the fungibility of the creative nature of art.

I heard the cling clang clack of pots being washed in the alley below and I strained to hear dust falling on curtains.

It is an announcement of a concert, the blank side of which I have used to take notes.

I heard the seed pods rattle against each other, or maybe I was just remembering walking in past times in quiet places.

It is a cigarette butt between an acoustic piano with several broken notes and an electric keyboard with little action and too much tint.

I heard the trucks grinding down the hill out front slowing before the road crew filling potholes their orange cones, green vests, surest sign of spring.

It is a sound that pulls out the underskin from under the skin till it is over, overt, overdetermined.
It is the sound of a child reading aloud, voice splintering and cracking, a child growing by himself in light and forlorn love.

I heard my Dean yelling at his wife, berating her over the phone, something about their child, this really just happened, I am serious.

It is the only brown dry tree between the hospital and the taxi rank but I watch it the most.
It is grey outside my window but if I turn I know the light behind me will be dusty yellow.

I heard whatshisname is in London, I wonder for what, the tabloids don't tell you such things, it looks like he's showing off his new wife Carla Bruni.

I heard about the Lacanian lack today, that forever-propelling nothingness which consumes us and without which we are simply voids.

It is a room lit dimly in the mid-afternoon by light filtering through the overcast sky: only the red table cloth seems to shimmer, sending rays up to the ceiling, coloring it pink with its glow.

I heard a loud instrumental (a new Nine Inch Nails piece called "Ghost 32") through the warehouse PA System; it's not the kind of music I usually play, but, singing along with it, I got to feel a part of it.

It is the hot sun that burns my shoulders now.

I heard my name on the phone spoken by someone I wasn’t calling, sounding as surprised as me, and then, on this rain-soaked cloudy day when nothing seems to connect, the line went dead and I checked the number-- no way had I got it wrong, and no way could the woman I heard have picked up the line and spoken my name.

It is a blinking bright face that hums and ticks that I'm staring into.
It is eerily early as sirens compete with stories from around the world.
It is the smell of nothing arriving, nothing moving; the smell of suffocation.
It is time the ice around my mailbox melted; write me a proper letter, why don't you?

I heard many things, and believed few, heard wonderful sounds, and understood little, I heard you were right nearby, or that you were tragically distant, I heard everything slowly, in a prolonged torpor of dreaming.


Space Bar said...

did you record this?

i can see you've tried to separate 'voices' as it were, but i am wondering if it was layered or punctuated in any way? did you have one voice under another? were there interruptions or disruptions that were deliberate?

equivocal said...

Space-- didn't arrange the poem with specific voices in mind- certainly not voices in the sense of "characters". I knew that it couldn't just do the poem myself, since that would have given a purely monovocal quality to a poem written by so many people. But the assignations of the parts came later, when I went back over the poem, assigning sections based on who I'd asked to help me. I assigned sections roughly based on the quality of people's voices (soft, loud, etc) and on my sense of their performance styles. I wasn't going for different voices in the sense of different "characters", but I was trying for a certain interplay of attitudes and also for a kind of call-and-response effect in some sections of the poem. I've put up the poem marked for parts here . We did do a recording of the whole thing, which will be up as we figure out certain modalities.

We'd set up some layering and simultaneity for the earlier section of the performance, but here, for the moment, I tried to keep it simple and call attention to the strength of the lines themselves; also, distributing copies of the poem to the audience. Layering of voices with a troupe, Four Horsemen style, would have also required a lot more rehearsal, complex timing and synergies. Next step, I guess. Thanks for your comment.