collecting music that goes silent

How many of us out there have massive amounts of music that we don’t listen to?

I know the Mac users do, because iTunes makes it easy, fun, and they have this nifty feature of telling you in hours and days how much music you have. I have 4298 songs, which is 11.8 days of music..So now, it’s not a race for music, but a race to buy time…nah…scratch that, it’s a race to get as much MUSIC AS YOU CAN POSSIBLY GET!

And never listen to it, in the case of yours truly. I’ve decided to stop this obsession because I invariably find myself wanting to listen to music that I don’t have, and then having 11.8 days of stuff that isn’t what I’m looking for just feels wrong somehow.

I just really wanted to write a title called “collecting music that goes silent”, because I wanted to put those words together so the above blurb is sort of my excuse for the poem that should have come instead, because I was really in the mood to write a poem tonight. Something about the crisp air of the strange city I live in…a middle-eastern port city on the Mediterranean, Holy City for some, oil refinery for others, with a large oily-black sea, and a Gotham City look on full moon nights with eerie shadows of cranes by the port looking like praying mantises and under-lit ominous buildings.

Crisp air makes me think of music, and I like writing about music more than reading about it.

I never enjoyed music more than when I was reading Pablo Casal’s biography, and those were just words.

Sometimes I feel like the only music I care about out of the thousands of minutes of music I have are Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain and Kind of Blue. That’s perfection for me, and I know I keep talking about it but it just…there’s nothing like it. I can’t find anything to replace it or captivate me more.

I mentioned I lost some CD’s of John Coltrane’s “Promise of Love” a few weeks ago and got someone told me they’d seen Miles Davis perform live. And my jaw dropped.

Imagine being in that room, from the silence the music starting as it usually does, slowly, deceptively simply and just rising and swirling like smoke ribbons, twirling on itself so intricately that you can’t tell where it stops or ends, and just blends into time, crawls along the walls, seeps into your skin until all you can do is close your eyes and just feel. Music that sketches life, faraway places and eternity. Timeless, again, music the race against time. So little of music manages to not date itself, it must have been something to be in that room.

And when you get used to it, a gust of wind breaks the designs and sweeps it into a different mode, and everything moves differently.

It’s getting cold, winter is definitely setting in.

Tonight I had a thought-provoking conversation with a friend of mine, a Cameroonian friend. We talked about what it means to be African. How much of being African has to do with skin color and having been oppressed. Does living in Africa or understanding or loving Africa, does being born in Africa make you African? Does being able to leave if there is a war automatically make you NOT an African?

All in all, another amazing day. The shoreline is glittering over my balcony into the distance, pinning the black sky to the black sea, and this will not be my view in Pointe-Noire. No balcony over the Mediterranean. But other perks.


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