Friday, February 20, 2009

Sad Is More Real, Rising Above

Here are two poems written half an hour apart.

Here is something I learned in music, slow and minor is easier to play than bright and happy quick major stuff. That is just simply true. Then I noticed that some of my favorite music is the blues. And the reasons are just too many to go into, having to do not only with the simple structure but some of the attitude too. There is a strong outlaw element in the blues that appeals to me greatly...

It was thunder and thunder and lightnin
The day this po' boy was born.
Ain't had nothin but yer trouble
And yer hate and yer scorn.
My daddy, he died in a train wreck.
My momma, she died o' th' booze.
My first name, it's natcherl born trouble,
My last name, it is the blues.

Damn, all done in Em with a certain riff to it, and then the B7 to break it open, hold it, hold it, (on last name) tumble back down to the Em. A two chord song. This is somehow more real...

Sad Is More Real

Why is it still so?
I have come to you, asking
For the path to joy,

Asking for true compassion
To flower in my warm heart.

I want happiness
To flood all my nooks, crannies.
Still sad is more real.


This poem is about being a spin doctor. I don't really have to say I can't really rhyme stuff very well. I write poetry controlled other ways, these days mostly haiku syllable count lines. I have done other things. Sometimes I do rhyme stuff just to show you (me) that I can. Well. I can honestly say I usually dislike rhyme as much as I dislike really tightly structured meter. But not when a real master does it. I want my forms to disappear if you don't want to see them. I want a poem that speaks really well without being forced into meter. When I perform I deliberately converse and dramatize rather than orate. I am pretty good at it too, both trained and coming through my mother from dramatic stock. So all of that glosses the simple fact that I just don't rhyme very well. So do I really have to say so?

Rising Above

I've no room for rhyme,
Too busy, too fast, that's me.
(I don't think I can).
I'd never say that,
Never say I lack some skill.
No, I'm just busy.
Can't be bothered, me.
I'll stand aloof from it all,
Rise above on gas.


  1. I love Sad is more Real.

    And it is, when you are there.


  2. And so it is....

    Sad is more real

  3. sad is more true

  4. I had a friend in college who really was such a happy person. She always surprised me and she had a hard time seeing why I found saddness in life. She wasn't a poet, though...

    Is it temperment?

    I agree with you -- sad is more real. Without the sorrow, could we even feel the joy? When the happiness floods, is it the contrast that we feel that makes it seem so wonderful? And sometimes knowing that something can cause sorrow is also knowing it can cause joy.

  5. Someone told me that to be a poet, one must suffer. I know so many great poets have suffered, but I wonder if someone happy can't also sing?

    I love your discussion of the blues, Sad is More Real, and Rising Above and the way they all tie together.

  6. Ummmm...all you people, thanks, I are all secret or not so secret Buddhists :)

    Actually there is a hidden striving in this. In music, when you master it sufficiently, then you get to join the other masters who can play happy stuff as easy as the sad stuff. What it means in music is that if you want to play credible music, not sound like a rube, and do it sooner, then you have to play sad because it is simpler. Happy is much more complex musically, brighter and faster.

    If you have the nack, then you can go for it. There is more technique to it. I have a suspicion that is no accident and spreads throughout living. Heh.

    If sad is more real, then it may well be I am more lazy and sloppy, less willing to work out the complexities...if you belong to the sad is more real crowd then you are already past the happiness of the ignorance is bliss crowd.

    Indeed it takes less muscle involvement to smile than to frown, and in this case happy is simple and sad more complex, but then we simply know that sad can be mastered easier than happy. Damn.

    I figure happy is achievable for the sad is more real crowd but it has to be an overlay, that is, the sad must remain in place as a foundation and happy built above as a kind of superstructure...okay so sad is the base, but I can be happy anyway, rejoice anyway, praise beauty anyway, play in the major modes anyway, and have it feel genuine anyway.

    If I master all that, then I have increased my freedom to move, but all of it at the price of becoming a much more complex character, learning the profound difference between simplistic deconstruction and genuine simplicity.

    In music this means the difference between kind of being able to play and being able to improvise in jazz or play the most complex classical forms.

    Life imitates art :)

  7. Wonderful discussion! I love the idea of a Sad is More Real group. It does feel more real, surely.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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