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Things I Remember

I remember (quite more than vaguely)
stretched on giant blades of matted grass
with my sister
while my father played softball.

I didn't care about the game;
only the fictional characters
I had imagined were sitting
with my sister and me.

I do not remember (not even vaguely)
the day I met my first love
nor the day I fell in love with him
nor what I said the last time we spoke.

Yet, I cared more about him
than any game of softball.

Perhaps I was too busy
imagining the characters.


Android Dreams

Idea for a new piece for baritone and orchestra… three movements… the theme being the moral and philosophical dilemma of artificial intelligence. The first movement would be a poem by Wallace Stevens which describes a man imagining immortalizing himself in bronze:

“This Solitude of Cataracts”

He never felt twice the same about the flecked river,
Which kept flowing and never the same way twice, flowing

Through many places, as if it stood in one,
Fixed like a lake on which the wild ducks fluttered.

Ruffling its common reflections, thought-like Monadnocks.
There seemed to be an apostrophe that was not spoken.

There was so much that was real that was not real at all.
He wanted to feel the same way over and over.

He wanted the river to go on flowing the same way,
To keep on flowing. He wanted to walk beside it,

Under the buttonwoods, beneath a moon nailed fast.
He wanted his heart to stop beating and his mind to rest

In a permanent realization, without any wild ducks
Or mountains that were not mountains, just to know how it would be,

Just to know how it would feel, released from destruction,
To be a bronze man breathing under archaic lapis,

Without the oscillation of planetary pass-pass,
Breathing his bronzen breath at the azury center of time.

The second movement would be a poem by Costas Dafnis about an android luthier. Still waiting on that from him…

The third movement could be this poem by Jeni Couzyn, which references the book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” (better known by its movie adaptation “Blade Runner”) by Philip K. Dick:

“Do Androids Dream”

Do androids dream of electric sheep in their pastures
grazing electric grass? Does Winnie dream of
walking in fields with sun on her skin

laid out ready for her coffin
unofficially dead in the home for old people?
Like an image of God as a fierce old woman in stone

flowers on sunday and news of the grandchildren
silent, unseeing, she receives like worship.
The undeniable tick tick tick of her heart

impales her to the living.
I heard an android cry before the bounty hunter
retired her, (unable to kill what is not alive):

"I was made instead of born; my empathy rating is low;
I will not grow old as you will or die of diseases;
the machine that I am will calmly

turn itself off at the proper time. But you’ve made me
so like you—bone marrow and blood and my heart is a big
muscle as yours is. I know fear when footsteps in the dark

pause at my door, and feel murderous, as you would
when you dig sharp fingers into my arm, tearing skin.
There’s saliva under my tongue. There are real

tears in my eyes. The factory that made me and for what
purpose, makes no difference to the way I feel myself
me, know myself mysterious. I am I as sharp as the lowest

creeper on earth is himself, whatever egg he crawled from
or gut he tore open entering, or cell accidentally
dividing created him. There are many ways into life.

Let me live."