induced epidemic

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This track was inspired by the work of art of the same name by Ashutosh Bhardwaj, and performed as part of the San Jose Museum of Art's 5th Annual Art and Poetry Invitational on April 17th, 2014.

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released April 17, 2014

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Track Name: induced epidemic
—Pattern—*

then you will feel better, since that’s what’s important
when the sky clears, and the bells toll
you won’t remember the ritual or how to find yourself
if you are in an abusive relationship
won’t remember aches in the chest
a shred of your shame
or why you felt it
when the end has nothing to do with this
anything goes, but have some integrity
then why do you ask
if you are not careful
when the darkness is blinding
if you are not afraid of getting sick, or hurt, or emotionally scarred
if you are never to be taught in the universities
when someone you love tries to hurt you
then do your best to stop complaining
when you shame yourself unknowingly
if nobody knocked on your door
you won’t remember what you couldn’t say
or why you tried anyway
when the moon is full
you won’t remember being awed at the possibilities of the Internet
if you let go of your fears for just one afternoon
if you keep listening to the same song
then what’s the use of building a bridge
when you are feeling well enough
anything goes, yeah, but you’re out of drugs
when you cannot talk because too much talking
if the streets are overflowing with mucus
won’t remember love, or light, or the difference
when daylight salutes the candles
you won’t remember the negative space on your walls
anything goes, but no one will help you
then don’t talk to me like that
then it’s not fair to assume we are any different
if it is true, and you have already packed your bags
you won’t remember to
when your chest aches from too much intimacy
when your nose is congested
anything goes, but life is short, enjoy it
if someone you know is engaged in domestic abuse
you won’t remember what it feels like to give of yourself
then stop cheating
you won’t remember losing, being hurt, forgetting
you won’t remember how to die
then what could you possibly show me
when your clothes fit just right
if you can’t make burritos with dignity
anything goes, but that’s not how you want it
then the plane took off
if it helps to just spit it out
when you decide this is a good thing
if the fire within is capable of being sparked by a last minute costume
now then
when the sun came out
you won’t remember to care, to have to
if it makes sense that people know you by name
when the playground is empty
when you wish upon an old flame
then the heart stopped, as foretold in a vision
you won’t remember the words of a single poet
if you have to keep stopping
to record your truths
every five steps
and it slows you down
so that you miss your appointments
when you look like your father
then you should probably see a doctor
when you put everything you have into one season
then prophecy will have to suffice
when we make eye contact and you look away
you won’t remember why you wanted to eat so much
or what you did with your time
when you run out of water
you won’t remember your name
the word for help
or how to say thank you
if everything has been described
then you can start to breathe again
then moisture became memory
you won’t remember how you used to fit in
when you turn off the lights, but before you close your eyes
when your friend is in town
anything goes, but i’ll never forgive you
if it is your job
you won’t remember being documented
when the past catches up to you
when people no longer talk to trees
when you are asked for your opinion
you won’t remember crying in the streets
if mankind is out of fashion
if you are bold enough to risk self-righteousness
if you act on chance eye contact
then again, then again
if this is not what you voted for
you won’t remember why you needed a notebook, or pockets
when you sleep in
when the light is lightness
when there doesn’t seem to be a connection
if the respect of your family is not your ultimate value
you won’t remember the word or the form
then you will roam the earth freely
master of the dominion that befits your legacy
if you are overflowing with hope
anything goes, but you just can’t do that
then the rain will come
when trash hits the street
then why do you bother
you won’t remember one cliché
one trending topic
one thesis statement
when it gets impersonal
if the timing is right
when somebody else gives the order
when money is not an issue
when the end is near is a joke
you won’t remember the formula
if you need more structure


—Voice—

Your friendship was like an afternoon nap in the sun, cool brick warming beneath me. And you were like a large pizza hot out the oven, just enough for everyone and a little left over. And you were a gas station cup of coffee in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. And you were my tears. And you were the crickets we could not hear and you were the songs. And you were the signs on the highway I did not need to keep track of. And you were the homecoming. And you were the final stretch. And you were the one who knew how vast are our forests. And it was you who taught me to have fun at work. Thank you. And I learned from you how to erase something properly. You who have seven daughters and no sons. And you, whose tears told me of my promise, and it was you whose favor I truly wanted, even when I said you were gross. It was you who blew snot on my sweater, and it was really your sweater. And it was a highlight of my life when you told me our friendship was how you would remember the year two thousand, and it was the worst when I turned twenty-one and you were not there. Not one of you was there.

And when I became a man I was alone, and there was no one to stop me. There were no more breaks: not for cigarettes, not for disaster, not for reassessment. Not because I couldn’t go on and just couldn’t.

I am bad luck now. You are a couple behind me being photographed. You are soon to be married. Your laugh is forced into the world like the babies you no doubt will have, forced to blend in with the sounds of freedom as it bang bangs against its own pole at the top of a gilded dome on the brink of another spring in a temperate region of an impermanent planet, and though the sun will shine for hours yet I feel the cold in places I will never see, and more than my desire to create something beautiful, right now I just want to feel something beautiful, and so I dull my precious lead with careless reminiscences of you and our times together, too timid to look any closer…

—Repetition—

right now I just want to feel something beautiful, and so I dull my precious lead with careless reminiscences of you and our times together


—Illusion**—

if someone you know is engaged in domestic abuse
if you are in an abusive relationship
if it helps to just spit it out
if the streets are overflowing with mucus
if this is not what you voted for
if nobody knocked on your door
if you act on chance eye contact
if you are not careful
if the fire within is capable of being sparked by a last-minute costume
if you keep listening to the same song
if you need more structure
if you are overflowing with hope
if you are never to be taught in the universities
if mankind is out of fashion
if everything has been described
if it is true, and you have already packed your bags
if it makes sense that people know you by name
if you let go of your fears for just one afternoon
if the timing is right
if you are bold enough to risk self-righteousness
if the respect of your family is not your ultimate value
if you have to keep stopping
to record your truths
every five steps
and it slows you down
so that you miss your appointments
if you’re not afraid of getting sick, or hurt, or emotionally scarred
if it is your job
if you can’t make burritos with dignity



* This pattern is random. It was first composed as five separate pieces, each of which begins each line with the same word or phrase (“If”, “When”, “Then”, “Anything goes, but”, and “You Won’t Remember”). All of the lines were then broken into their own respective sound file (a total of 105 files and a duration of 4:00 minutes). The lines are put into a playlist and played on shuffle. About 30 seconds into the playback of “Pattern”, “Voice” is recited over—or under—it.

** “Illusion” is recited ~15s after “Voice” ends. The lines “right now I just want to feel something beautiful, and so I dull my precious lead with careless reminiscences of you and our times together” are looped, and continue through the end of the performance/track, when they fade out after the conclusion of “Illusion”.