John and I knew what we were. We weren’t told; it wasn’t necessary when it may as well have been stamped on our foreheads.
With music. Always music. There weren’t girls – not for lack of trying, not for lack of wanting – but there’d be the records: the dissection of the records, the repetition of the records, the emulation of the records.
Those records didn’t tell us how to live or rebel or any of those tiresome clichés, nor did they offer us some escape from reality; save those platitudes for the Sunday magazines. We weren’t deprived, lost or needy. We weren’t running to or away from anything any more complex or challenging than anyone else.
But what they did give us was a further identity. Not an alternative but an additional one. Or, to be honest, additional ones because the scope was limitless and we were greedy to have more of everything - to fill out, to contrast, to explain.
Nell likes to say that self-nature is subtle and mysterious. We weren’t subtle and hardly mysterious, except to our ignorant selves. Still, if others have organising principles of life, we had infestations of life. We sucked it in in great big handfuls: music, words, pictures, family, religion, bodies.
If we’d had the chance to look at Nell’s categories of existence, of definition, we would have been busy ticking off each marking as we ran down the list or pored over the body leaking and excreting words. That’s us, that one too. And yeah, that one we can’t deny.
And we would have come back for a second look and a third to tick off what we yet might be and what we feared could be. More.
Who are we? We knew. And we knew nothing.
—Bernard Zuel, 2010
Oh lord, is it too much to ask to make just one of my works into a song? I especially dedicate this song to the tears of families, to unmade love and…..
I am wet & dirty; please don't clean me up. Do not give me strength when I am weak. Let my selfishness be selfless. Make me blind & deaf so I may see & hear. Keep words & people from my mind & mouth. Let my hands do only the work of hands. Make me neither good, nor bad, but both - always and forever.
There is nothing to save me from being reborn in all & all being reborn in me.
I accept each inhalation as a rebirth. I accept each exhalation as a death.
Even the absolute is empty.
I live in praise of song.