Sunday, June 3, 2018

Julius Eastman, Precarity & Legacy

the precarity and the legacy of Julius Eastman
seem to be one and the same,
 in terms of a legend, fitting the paradigm of the off-base,
outsider (or ousted), "difficult" genius, the alien --
such as Artaud, from whom this blog derives it's name,
Julius lived outside of time, ranting, praising, suffering,
composing in the interstitial game plans "between fixes"
Appearing to be a man "done with society" - spiritized -
yet entirely at odds with religion, the tele-evangelicals --
He lived outside of time or "just outside" (out of doors)
all the time, seemingly ready & uncompromisingly
singing at the drop of a hat, "for a song" --
for the prophecy, of the lord of endorphins--
as if to speak -discourse- were too much drag already *
-- even in the middle of this amazing interview from 1984
with David Garland, who deserves a garland,
for preserving this tape...

Julius Eastman, who some people know
from the Meredith Monk days,
when he pitched his voice in --for he was not shy,
and the aforementioned tape unspools his charm,
coming in somewhere between field hollers
and Gavin Bryars (of "Jesus' Blood") -- gospel --
on a hot aluminum roof  -- and yet others may not
have known him for his own piano & ensemble compositions,
since his vagabondage and ongoing "argument with the Lord"
prevented all semblance of "establishment" from taking hold --
even while we have this mind-blowing 3 and 1/4 hour set
of performances on the following virtual album

Julius Eastman - Unjust Malaise (full album)

There forms in my mind, when I think of Julius Eastman,
the quintessential brink-man, a minimalist composer
amid the free jazz vibes of the the Lower East Wherever,
 the Sinner Saint, some cat you meet in an alley,
some cat you speak to guessing the spin of the mind
bridged behind those eyes peaks pointed ears,
scribbles on bar-stools, and you are sure he's got someone,
somewhere to call home, because, you think
this shit can't be this way, that such a person wanders
without home, hither and thither

until it dawns on you, the generosity & humor
of such a spirit flies melting
Icarus wings --belongs to wind --
& the NY Times gentrification overdrive,
the soul of the street-person, dies
withdrawn into the social monastic memory,
of smart-phone brain-lock-- google --
  Back in the day, you may have
met such a Moondog, on any corner,
the brave and lonely lover
of wabi-sabi Charles Ives
meets Albert Ayler
and granted open mind
unmitigated attention


but what happened to the world of seeking soothsayers and gymnosophes
after all the rainbows
became enclosed in windows
flat plasmic light forced the eyes 

as if the whole collapse
of the spirit of the malcolms
and kings & ra's
the physical culture
itself of relation
zombied out in the road
the displaced 
or withered at the helm
 struts of ahab's boat
proclaiming I culture
of ishmael
the foolology
knowing root from fruit
swinging in the breeze

 " I speak like Ali Baba (“The Arabian Pope”)
Who when he spoke the magic words,
“Open this sucker up,” and the mountain swang, envisioned one day
There would be a John named Trane who would blow the same shit
I blow with the deep fear of John on the island
looking at the actual devil
--Amiri Baraka

And if not the devil, then to the other side... Eastman... 


   * Julius seemed to be truly between worlds infantile, dadaist, bound by his own spells and these words from Nate Mackey seem appropriate
 "... enough to induce an exasperated scat or an incipient stutter or a lapse into baby talk (Nuh) … 
the advent of “unsay’s / day”  --

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