July 14, 2004

Their voices are bringing trees to their knees

* Undated Ted Berrigan interview of John Cage. excerpt:

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about Silence.

CAGE: Sure. You never know what publishers are up to. I had the damnedest time with Silence. My publishers, H***, R***, and W***, at first were very excited about doing it, and then they handed it over to a young editor who wanted to rewrite it entirely, and proceeded to do so; he made a complete hash of it. And I protested about this and the whole thing--the contract was about to be signed--and they withdrew it, because of this impasse. The Publisher, who is my friend, said, "Well, John, we never really took this seriously, did we? So why don't we just forget it?" And I replied, "Damn it all, I did take it seriously; I want to get published." Well, then they fired this young man who was rewriting me, and everything was peaceful. But there was still some static about irregularities of tone in Silence. So I said, "Well, I'll just tone them down a little, tune the whole thing up, so to speak." But I did nothing of the sort, of course! I simply changed the order. I sent it back re-arranged, and then they wanted me to do something else; finally I just took the whole thing somewhere else.
INTERVIEWER: The Beatniks, notably Ed Sanders, are being harassed by the police lately. Do you approve?

CAGE: On the contrary. The problem is that the police are unloved. The police in New York are all paranoid . . . they were so hateful for so long that everybody got to hate them, and that just accumulated and built up. The only answer to viciousness is kindness. The trouble is that the younger kids just haven't realized that you've got to make love to the police in order to solve the police problem.

INTERVIEWER: But how do you force love on the police?

CAGE: Make love to the police. We need highly trained squads of lovemakers to go everywhere and make love.
INTERVIEWER: Is life serious?

CAGE: Perhaps. How should I know? In any case, one must not be serious. Not only is it absurd, but a serious person cannot have sex.

INTERVIEWER: Very interesting! But, why not?

CAGE: If you have to ask, you'll never know.

* A Poem by Ted Berrigan

Today's News

My body heavy with poverty (starch)
It uses up my sexual energy
constantly &
I feel constantly crowded
On the other hand, One Day in the Afternoon of The World
Pervaded my life with a
heavy grace
I'll never smile again
Bad Teeth
But I'm dancing with tears in my eyes
(I can't help myself!) Tom
when he loves Alice's sonnets,
takes four, I'd love
to be more attentive to her, more
The situation having become intolerable
the only alternatives are:
Murder & Suicide.
They are too dumb! So, one
becomes a goof. Raindrops
start falling on my roof. I say
Hooray! Then I say, I'm going out
At the drugstore I say, Gimmie some pills!
Charge 'em! They say
Sure. I say See you later.
Read the paper. Talk to Alice. She laughs to hear
Hokusai had 947 changes of address
In his life. Ha-ha. Plus everything
else in the world
going on here.


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