Interview with Paul Simon’s Biographer

Here’s an audio interview with Robert Hilburn, the author of the new Paul Simon biography called Paul Simon, The Life.
I found it somehow reassuring to find out that Graceland came about after a very low period in Paul’s life, after having made the decision to go it alone, which initially didn’t go well, and led to a lot of self-doubt/depression.
Also, it was interesting to find out that he’s done Ayahuasca, quite a few times, and that, while it wasn’t an addiction, it did become a problem for him, and he had to stop it.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018648729/paul-simon-the-life-robert-hilburn

The War of Art (poem)

THE WAR OF ART

Dear Reader,

Something you may be unaware of
is the way the various genres
within each of the arts closely resemble
religious movements, established or new.

You see, from the artist’s point of view,
if one is to devote so much of one’s time
to a particular set of principles or theories,
one simply cannot afford to be egalitarian,
unless, perhaps,
for the sake of political correctness.

The belief that “this approach is better
or more worthy than that approach,”
along with the passion to express it,
is all that will get the artist through
the many long vigils and collateral damage
it may do to them over the long term.

An artwork may be thought of
as a message which, decoded, will read

It is the artist’s belief that a work of art
ought to be constructed thus.

Whether or not the audience agrees,
the artist’s faith will continue to sustain itself
by means of the art-making ritual.

Just because it’s popular,
doesn’t mean it’s worthier.

The recognition of peers and critics,
while desirable, is not a prerequisite
for moral victory.

I draw your attention to this,
only so that you may become aware
that there is indeed
a constructive way to wage war,
an impersonal way to make love,
and a secular method through which
the finer feelings may continue
to be enlivened, or dare I say,
resurrected.

~

INTIMACY (poem)

Your silence used to confuse me.

On those first evenings
we spent together
I used to try to remedy my confusion
by telling you my views
and asking you
all sorts of tiresome questions.

After only a few evenings of this
you turned to me and said
    – You know, you don’t have to talk.
which seemed a bit blunt,
and may have offended me
if it weren’t for your eyes,
at the same time, intimating
    – I just enjoy being with you,
so stop trying to impress me, fool.

and then your arm
guiding mine around you,
my hand into yours,
as we curled up on your bed
and watched T.V.

Later on, I recall,
you got up, went to the bathroom,
and re-entered wearing your new lingerie:
    – So, tell me …
you asked, as you struck a pose,
    – what do you think?

 

 

~

Translation of an Ancient Chinese Poem

I recall my Chigong teacher telling us that, by way of what we in the West call calligraphy, well intended words of healing would be written on fans, and healthy Chi would also be put into the fan, so that whenever the owner uses it, the Chi and information would be transmitted to them. It was taught to us as a legitimate healing technique, but in this poem, words of love have been written on a fan by a woman, and given to her lover, you might say in the “Summer” of their love:

RESENTFUL SONG

White silk of Chi, newly torn out,
Spotlessly pure as frozen snow,
Cut to make a fan of conjoined happiness,
Round as the moon at its brightest,
It is ever in and out of my master’s sleeve,
And its movement makes a gentle breeze,
But oft I fear with the Autumn’s coming
When cold blasts drive away the torrid heat,
It will be cast aside into a chest,
And love in mid-course will end.

(? Pan Chieh-Yu)

 

~