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communal creative energy!

September 9, 2007

ON THURSDAY NIGHT, I had the privilege to see two of my favorite bands (The Rosebuds, and The National) in concert together at The 9.30 Club in Washington, DC. A unique thing happened to me at this show, I fed off of the energy of the musicians so much so, that I began to spontaneously write poetry during their performance. And I was down front, literally, leaning against the stage with my notebook and pen, scribbling in the stage lights. This is a video of part of their performance below, and also a picture of what I wrote down (mirror-image encrypted)… The experience of a band’s performance, I have often felt, is akin to a religious experience, or creative orgy in some way. Everyone is eerily shouting the same words, which they have practiced in their cars, bathrooms, or other intimate domestic spaces–pumping their fists, tapping their toes, nodding their heads in rhythm. And the band is leading the procession. And everyone is usually getting drunk, as well… So, I also had the thought bubble that the experience of a really profound live music performance must have been what a medieval Mead Hall felt like, plus armor and the imminent threat of death. But I will blog more about that on my (strictly!) academic blogsite: Intertextuality (

…and here is a direct transcription of some of the poetry i began seeding at the concert…

“the cancer”

is spun fruit, tendrils spinning
a fine overflow of borders,
the aggressive webbing of seedlings,
misshapen and hungry
multiply and harden, metastasize,
grow up and give birth
in the time it takes to bat an eye
for you.

and i don’t know the boy,
sweater vest, greek name, love
of answers and archeology,
but i nearly see
his fearful eyes, encircling center
like that of ink black
flowers, universe of ache,
the death-touch
assaulting his mother.

walk off the stage
to let the thing play itself,
a tuning fork,
heart bursting.


i learned to count the bridges
down the Thames
like my own ribs:
spread fingers, running
out to sea.

a hand across my stomach
produces goose-flesh
like the pebbles
on Brighton beach.

wiry grass on white
chalk cliffs,
London my navel.

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