M.’s Blog

Haiti Relief Fund

January 17, 2010 :: Tags: , , :: Comment

What a heart breaking tragedy. At such times I need someone like poet and audiophile, Garrett Hongo to put in words how I feel. In fact this devastating tragedy leaves so many of us speechless. But then again, we have Pat Robertson talking about Haiti’s “pact to the devil.” The only difference between this man and the bigots in another country I am deeply familiar with, is the robes.

Thank God the voice of us Americans and our president are much louder and much more clear as demonstrated in our actions. For our part, SORAsound auctions the following items to do our small part to help the Haitians:

Please bid on these items and/or help the Haiti relief funds. To make an automatic $10 donation to the Red Cross, text Haiti to 90999; the money will be charged directly to your cell phone bill.

“What is Poetry That Cannot Save Nations or a People?”

January 11, 2010 :: Tags: , , , :: Comment

I forwarded Hila Sedighi’s poem for oppressed students of Iran, to my friend Garrett Hongo, poet, audiophile and Distinguished Professor of The College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oregon. In response, Garrett wrote to me about the Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz who once said “what is poetry that cannot save nations or a people.”

“Ferocious political oppression spawns outcry and plants a strength of resolve and resentment at the instant it punishes and strikes for fear. Yet, economic and cultural oppression do too, though the cries take longer to develop and be heard, sometimes silenced so long the result is a counter-violence some call revolutionary. Yet, violence is itself tyrannous, reigning over all redress and hope in turn. Poetry is a peaceful plaint to register our grief and outrage, yet I hope it might move millions to revive justice–in their hearts and in the world.” — Garrett Hongo


by Czeslaw Milosz

You whom I could not save
Listen to me.
Try to understand this simple speech as I would be ashamed of another.
I swear, there is in me no wizardry of words.
I speak to you with silence like a cloud or a tree.

What strengthened me, for you was lethal.
You mixed up farewell to an epoch with the beginning of a new one,
Inspiration of hatred with lyrical beauty;
Blind force with accomplished shape.

Here is a valley of shallow Polish rivers. And an immense bridge
Going into white fog. Here is a broken city;
And the wind throws the screams of gulls on your grave
When I am talking with you.

What is poetry which does not save
Nations or people?
A connivance with official lies,
A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment,
Readings for sophomore girls.
That I wanted good poetry without knowing it,
That I discovered, late, its salutary aim,
In this and only this I find salvation.

They used to pour millet on graves or poppy seeds
To feed thee dead who would come disguised as birds.
I put this book here for you, who once lived
So that you should visit us no more.

Warsaw, 1945

Emanuel Ax in Chicago

January 10, 2010 :: Tags: :: Comment

Nami had two tickets to a piano recital. She was originally going with a friend but somehow instead I ended up being invited. Sat at our seats at the Chicago Symphony Center. Good location. My seat felt a bit broken but OK. Looked at the program and said “wow, Emanuel Ax.” Unbeknown to me I was going to see and hear Mr. Ax. I was delighted.

Our seats were good. I had great views of his hands. If I were a pianist like him, I would think twice before shaking the hands of some people I meet. Do they ever worry someone may hurt their hands with a too firm handshake? The performance was great. I read he will have performances with Yo Yo Ma and Dawn Upshaw. Those performances would be great to see. Sound wise, frankly I was just not impressed. In fact, I hoped that my music equipment sound better than a bad sound at this hall (at least where I was sitting).

Vic Chesnutt passed away

January 7, 2010 :: Comment

Found out today that Vic Chesnutt took his life on Christmas eve. Really sad. Years ago I saw Vic perform. I had thought about his performance every now and then, and was impressed with what I saw as his professional recognition and progress. It seemed to me he had overcome a huge barrier many can not. Glad to see that NPR Fresh Air honoring his memory. May he rest in peace.

Mehran is 50!

January 4, 2010 :: Comment

Well, I am 50 years old today. Now, I am sure I have lived at least half my life. A good life. I have had a rich life by so many measures: SORA, family, friends, myself.

Never have made a big deal about birthdays, but man, this one is a big deal.