Joyland

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Every Day in the Morning (slow)

by Adam Seelig

edited by Kevin Chong

This excerpt from Every Day in the Morning (slow) has been reformatted for Joyland. Think of it as a transcription. The original, available in print and browseable online, is formatted in a way that could be called “concrete lyric fiction,” with words and letters aligning vertically to form a fully continuous “drop poem.” Like the original, but with 95% less white space, the unconventional paragraphs you see here are organized not by sentences, but by tonal arrangements of words. A group of words will interact in a certain paragraph, forming a zone of sound and meaning (and space, in the original), until we move on to the next zone. The emerging narrative links them all together. You need not know any of this to read on, but it provides some sense for the method behind what might, at first blush, appear mad. —Adam Seelig This is what happens in the morning of course many things happen to many people in the morning but this is what happens when Sam wakes up it's still dark in the window and still in the room since Layla has left for work like the neighbours upstairs all gone to work to be together with others leaving Sam to wake alone and walk past the window by the piano over to the bathroom its cool floor cools his feet covering the same steps from bed to sink under the mirror where still in the dark he rubs his sometimes sore hands before washing them and wetting his cheeks and chin and stubble and with his hands a little sore but only a little he puts on some shaving cream picks up his razor blade and starts shaving in the yellow light he's flicked on a slightly yellow light that flickers at first above the mirror that reflects him well what else can a mirror do but reflect and what else can you do in the mirror but face your face and reflect on how you used to believe you could write music to make a living simply make a living from writing your own God how naive you were to believe that back then but then you passed the ideal age to become a famous composer the idea of fame never came to pass and now as more time goes on you can't seem to sell your music no matter what it doesn't seem to sell or bring in any money nothing this year not one piece sold or picked up or commissioned while he does fine all the same because whatever Father wants Father gets with all the money he has for what for sitting for sitting on his rump all day as if his fat ass shits bills all day long a trumpet call of bills from his ass as if from out of his fat ass pops one long trumpet that toots bills all day long for just sitting since he just sits on his ass all day like me i guess a little like me so what if i also sit when i work i really work i don't just sit and get fat if anything i'm getting even thinner really i work when i sit at the piano well ok i write when i sit at the piano ok sometimes i write when i sit and sometimes i just sit and think at the piano when my hands are too sore to play and compose so i just hold them and rub them and don't write anything down or sometimes i write down just one note that's it one stroke on the page that's it stroke smoothly he said make your skin smooth as a baby he said and you're still my baby he said my only he said ever since your mother you know he said but stopped and then said stroke as smoothly as you can that's it the smoother your strokes the smoother the shave that's it only one note one note one note but then maybe one note is all it takes why not like Cage one note to be like John Cage or Riley repetitive like Terry Riley what a bore why not bore me to death like Cage or Riley why is Terry Riley so repetitive a bore like Reich take a bore like Steve Reich is Philip Glass as repetitive you wonder as you shave in the mirror is one note all it takes for me to be the next Glass or Reich or Riley or Cage sure if what you want is to be a bore a famous bore mind you but a bore all the same why are they all the same and why is one more repetitive than the next is it to bore me to death maybe it is like it or not but it sells because a style sells and if it sells it has power and power sells art because art has no power but the power to sell style since art let's face it is a sham and an artist is nothing but a ham with ease for style yes ease power and a cheap and cheesy style to sell because the cheesier the style the more it sells pathetic i have no style to sell and no power to sell it all i have is my pathetic music at least you make something Layla says playing with my hair and she's got a point at least you make your music what does he make what exactly does he do anything other than play the market and has he ever created anything in his life like you do or played the piano like you she says but i haven't made any money this year none i say what about the new piece you've been working on she says it's just on spec i say and stuck i say what she says i'm stuck i say come on Sam i'm sure you're just making slow progress she says i wrote one note yesterday i say you see that's progress she says even if it's just one note you're still making music she's got a point i guess seriously what exactly does he make she says a lot of money that's what i say yes she says that's all he makes so why not let him help us out she says no way i say why not she says too many strings attached i say come on Sam baby we could really use it not from him no not with all his strings attached but hey that's business that's what being a business man is for to push others around with money and to be around a lot of money with a lot of other business men but not a lot of women since women are the other money of men in business turning women into plastic tits with elastic thighs skin so tight you can see through and it all gets worse when the women getting pushed around start pushing other women around not to mention babies we can't afford and she knows we can't afford them even though she would love some of her own and aren't they delicious she says aren't they to die for but i can't afford to let her and if i did would she leave me here with it i mean she can't afford the time to be with a baby or would she leave with it i can't let her leave or make me a father or worse first a husband i'm not the fathering or husbanding type and what if she died having the baby it never happens she tells me but it did but she was one in a million cases it's so rare she tells me so should i feel better Mother being one in a million doesn't make me feel better and doesn't she get enough babies in the bloody maternity ward can't she get her baby fix there at work like all the other OBs and aren't i baby enough for her what do i need to cry for her to care more don't i need her enough and she can barely afford me a resident can barely make enough to support us both and i wish she'd stop about his money almost begging for his money while you shave the way he showed me to face the mirror hold his hand and watch how he feels his face holds the razor and sees me in the mirror now razor in hand smile so much like his smiling and holding my hand to his face before he pushed me away when for a moment i touched his blade it was just for a moment but the moment i touch it my hand bleeds and i know it was stupid and i think i cried when he said that was stupid and then just be sure not to bleed to death Jesus just don't bleed to death is that supposed to be one of his stupid jokes is her death just a joke to him i mean Jesus i know it was stupid of me and now i'm feeling sentimental look i have feelings fine i have feelings and i'm fine with sentiment and fine with feeling confused now and then but to feel sentimental as i do to feel sentimental as i do at the moment is to be weak mentally weak and mental weakness is a virus of the mind that spreads to the body and hands until you're too weak to bear any more feelings or children and to have the weakness of a child's body of your mother's body a kind of weakness for feeling weak is a sentimental disease but to love is another matter to love to sing as Father claims she loved to sing is different even if he can't remember any of the songs she sang why can't he learn a simple melody that a simple idiot could learn who can't learn a simple melody a melody that his own wife sang no less who can't remember that an idiot that's who an idiot without an ear an idiot without a memory or a man without a mother because i can't recall then but then i wasn't even born yet for God's sake of course i can't recall so what can be his excuse what excuse can he have that he can't recall the melody the words yes he has a memory for the words and for numbers a better memory for numbers but a person with no memory for melody is no better than a bird that can't twitter yes no better than a bird brain a person with a brain for numbers and words but not for melody has shit for brains and all the numbers upon numbers and words upon words if not for melody would all be for nothing like Clapping Music Steve Reich's Clapping Music nothing to it it's like a machine that's all clap clap clap clap so what anyone can clap what makes that so brilliant that there's nothing to it that anyone can do it is that what makes Steve Reich's Clapping Music brilliant Father can clap so is Father a musical genius when all he can do is make money no what is brilliant is that Steve Reich's music makes money too while you and your music make nothing Steve Reich is a money making machine that's raking it in like Father clap clap and money simply appears one day he appears to be talking to himself so i ask him what he's talking about it's a song she used to sing he says can you sing it to me i ask him you know i can't sing he says it's true he can't sing a tune to save his life then would you tell it to me please i ask she'd want me to know it too wouldn't she i say it's just a silly folk song Sam he says at least tell me the words i must have said i wonder if the Broadcast Corp would have a recording of it maybe if i write to one of their all request shows maybe one of their know it all DJ's will play it i doubt it but i could still send in a request dear so and so do you know that song that my father can't sing but my mother did before she died having me and if you do could you please play it thanks that'd be great oh and it's my birthday on April first i know what you're thinking April Fool but i'm serious it'd mean a lot to me if you'd play it on my birthday and if you don't have it which i doubt you do then please play Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" "Le Sacre du Printemps" my partner and i my partner what is this business what is she my business partner even love now is a business any how my partner and i love each other love your show love the "Rite of Spring" and love to make love to each other like wild donkeys thrusting our pelvises or is it pelvi donkey style while we listen to the music mount and surge so wow how great it'd be if you would play the "Sacrificial Dance" movement "Danse Sacrale" as performed stiffly and with utter lack of feeling by one of our country's mediocre hack orchestras its institutional mediocrity second only to our so called healthcare system that can't keep a birthing woman from bleeping bleeding to death come on now really do i have to beg you please i said at least tell me the words please please please and he did i guess he had a heart for once so right there and then he told me all the words he knew to the song he says she used to sing one little kid one little kid Father bought me one little kid then a cat eats the kid that Father bought me one little kid then a dog bites the cat that eats the kid that Father bought me one little kid then a stick beats the dog that bites the cat that eats the kid that Father bought me one little kid then fire burns the stick that beats the dog that bites the cat that eats the kid that Father bought me one little kid then water puts out the fire that burns the stick that beats the dog that bites the cat that eats the kid that Father bought me one little kid then an ox drinks the water that puts out the fire that burns the stick that beats the dog that bites the cat that eats the kid that Father bought me one little kid then a butcher kills the ox that drinks the water that puts out the fire that burns the stick that beats the dog that bites the cat that eats the kid that Father bought me one little kid then an angel kills the butcher that kills the ox that drinks the water that puts out the fire that burns the stick that beats the dog that bites the cat that eats the kid that Father bought me one little kid then the "Holy One" kills the angel that kills the butcher that kills the ox that drinks the water that puts out the fire that burns the stick that beats the dog that bites the cat that eats the kid that Father bought me one little kid one little kid figures it all starts with Father the father figure starts not just any chain but a chain of death for God's sake and when does he die where does Father figure in the chain other than at the start Father at the start with God at the end the son forsaken and Mother neglected while God and Father in the end are left untouched