Monday, November 12, 2018

Rats Live On No Evil Star

If any of you are still out there coming to this site, I'm sure it would make Paula happy.  I haven't posted here for over a year..but oh, I still miss her so....the grief has maybe changed, but it will never go away.
I haven't done very well in my quest to get her more published, but haven't given up.
In the meantime, I put out a new has settings of  two of Paula's poems, those being To An Angel, and How to Clean A Sewer (in a piece called Windfall Lemons). And: Rebecca Shrimpton extracted a song from Paula's writing on these blog about the loss of a dear friend. From these House of Toast post:

This is the disc....the art work on the front (and the back) is, of course Paula's...

This is the first song I've ever written the lyrics to, my rant about Fred Phelps, who you may have read about in Paula's post:
The Red Dog Blues

How To Clean A Sewer
Paula Tatarunis 

There lie the rinds of things,
there in the shadows,
the indigestibles
that shamed the tongue.

The wind that howls through
that matter horn;
the dervish fire hose;
the cold and smothering clods;

the snakeroots piercing
the clotted gourd  
to god soul truth love hope heal heart--
there is no fix

but in ash-scour and the scent
of windfall lemons 
from the grove of the last 
dream before you wake.

To An Angel
Paula Tatarunis

Neither arch- or seraph-, 
far too old for cherub, 
more drone than anything,
you punch the guard clock 
of your night watch,
pushing the allowance
of fatigue and indifference,
and haul your yellowing
half-stripped scapulae 
unflappable behind you
and over me. 

Red Sea

Lyrics from the writings of Paula Tatarunis (adapted by Rebecca Shrimpton)
Music by Rebecca Shrimpton  and Darrell Katz

My latest gig nearly did me in
I’m squatting over the embers of myself
Ember and ashes
In the midst, the phone call comes
A stranger reporting a death
I was on a list to call in the event of

And the red, red sea parts for a moment
Then crashes down redder yet
The horse and the rider are swept into
The sea of someone else’s dream

The man I called the Reverend was a Marxist,
An angrily lapsed Catholic,
A man caught between his roots and aspirations
He was my first lover
We were misfit clinging to misfit
Clinging for years then drifting apart.

And the red, red sea parts for a moment
Then crashes down redder yet
He was a grace which like all graces
Was utterly undeserved
Years passed,
The Reverend reappeared
He’d had a hard life, brutal and cruel
But there was more
He’d had a vision of tall, white beings
Radiating love
In the anguish of Being
He’d found JOY, JOY

After he died, I had a dream:
The Rev left a message we’d meet
For a game of Twister
I looked up and there he was
Wearing Ray Bans
Walking away
My broken guardian angel

And the red, red sea parts for a moment
Then crashes down redder yet
He was a grace which like all graces
Was utterly undeserved

May the earthly wind
And the heavenly stars
Sing you to sleep
My old friend

Monday, February 19, 2018 if blessing nuptial vows...

Sorry, it took me a long time to figure out how to sign in again and be able to put up posts...
I wanted to share with you the links to videos of our October performance of The Death Of Simone Weil.
I'm so pleased with this music: perhaps we will record it again someday (perhaps not, too, alas)...
I'm also just about to send out a manuscript of a book of Paula's poetry...Paula as so good at so many things, but: she was SUCH a brilliant poet...and the blog was never much about her poetry. Of course, she was such a brilliant writer of....her somehow beyond essays...Anyway, wish me luck with that...the world deserves to be able to read her.
You cannot imagine how much I miss her. You people know her as the spiritual, cerebral writer she was here, and indeed, she was that gentle, insightful, articulate soul...but you might have not really known the down to earth person she was at home (hard to explain this, here, in fact,  she always did  paint an accurate picture of herself), the one that would amuse me by drawing devil horns and pitchforks on newspaper photos of George Bush and Dick Cheny and who had a great time with me, sending out for chinese food and watching TV....

Gone Now


November 1938

Saint Julien

X-Ray Dreams

Almost Paradise
November, 1938, the third movement of The Death Of Simone Weil. This beautiful poem is what inspired me to write the whole (six movement, 65 minute)'s about a transcendent experience Simone Weil had, and longing for it to happen again...refers to several famous poems. This poem turned me into a composer whose focus is on words as that’s what I’ve been doing ever since I read that around 20 years ago. Paula was (so deservedly so) pleased with herself when she wrote this…and I read this part, standing, in our bedroom, leaning over the top of a dresser, and it sent chills down my spine. I was, and always will be, so proud of her. Honored to have known her. Profoundly lucky to have found my soul mate, who amazingly, loved me as much as I loved her. We always claimed we were the cutest couple in the world, and we were right.
                  Darrell Katz


He whose soul remains ever turned toward God though the nail pierces it finds himself nailed to the very center of the universe.
                                                                                -- S. Weil

Mal de tete, the ignominious
quotidian of my incarnation!
It drills my forehead like a nail --

like a lidless
third eye transfixed
by its desire.

If only I could flinch from it! 
This pain impales me
like an unwilling bride

to my sickbed here
guiltie of dust and sin
and wretched unwillingness.

If only I could enter
the sanctuary of the poem,
naked as a spirit, 

my miserable flesh
shed in a heap on the porch -- 
like at Easter in Solesmes,

when the plain song
plucked me aloft 
from my suffering

and I hovered like a feather
on the breath of God,
or dust in his splendour,

far above the malheur, degout et
paresse of my unworthy life:
Love bade me welcome, Love

bade me welcome, and the doctor 
brought a horrid nux vomica,
for migraine:

like a curate of the flesh,  
in his macaronic latin,
he says Mass over me. 

 Love bade me welcome, yes,
me, with my cyclops eye as raw
as the kiss God planted 

on the brow of Cain. O quick-eyed Love,
sweet sorcerer, take my unwillingness
and refine it with your flame until

what remains is the quicksilver 
of consent, and the gold of welcome, Love, 
like the smile on a beloved face,

that whispers, 
as if blessing nuptial vows,

When the plainchants
Plucked me aloft
from my suffering  

and I hovered like a feather
on the breath of God,  
or dust in his splendour,

far above the malheur, degout et
paresse of my unworthy life:
Love bade me welcome,
Love bade me welcome,
Love like a smile on a beloved face,  
That whispers,
who made the eyes but I?

The day we were married...

Monday, October 09, 2017

The Death Of Simone Weil

If any of you are still reading, and if you're in the Boston area: Thursday night I have a concert that features one of Paula's great epic poems, The Death Of Simone Weil. It was one of her works that was really special to her: Simone Weil was one of her all time favorites, and Paula wrote about her with great clarity and passion.
I found a high school list of things she loved and it included Simone Weil...who she always admired.
The poem is as much about Paula as it is about Weil.
I wrote this music 18 or so years ago. The last time we performed the whole thing (it's 65 minutes) was when a live recording of it (released by Innova recordings) was made in 2001.
I wish it would have occurred to me to put this notice here a few weeks ago, but just in case it's of any interest to you, we will be playing this Thursday night, Oct. 12, at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston. Featuring the wonderful voice of Rebecca Shrimpton (who Paula wrote about on this blog from time to time, as she had taken some voice lessons from Becky).
Like everyone that knew her: I learned so much from Paula, and I learned as much about writing music from setting this text as I have ever learned from anything....when I first read it, it sent chills down my spine: I had to try and make it into music.
You cannot imagine how much I miss her.
Anyway, this event will be a celebration of who she was....and sorry for the formatting issues: I am NOT a seasoned blogger.

Monday, March 06, 2017

To any of you still reading, I think you will want to read this article about Paula:

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Just a people may be visiting this site...
Please make sure to find Paula's posts.
None of them from 2016 are hers, only one from 2015.
But all of the rest are.
Please do explore. She had a most unique and special way of looking at the world.
I will continue to celebrate her spirit, and will hope that you, whether this is your first time here, or have been coming here for years, will too.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Paula, me, and Billy....

These pictures of Paula with one of our kitties, Billy (we had declared that Billy was the finest animal in the universe) give a rather historical perspective.
Paula holding Billy when he was a kitten.

And 12 or more years later.

And here's us. I'm guessing around 1987. We were at a friend's farm, while back in Kansas, visiting my parents. WBGH's least 20 years later, maybe more...