2013 © Copyright Brian Bradley. All Rights Reserved
From a mattress she reaches for a cell phone, “Must you?” “Must I what?” she responds in an automatic monotonous tone of voice with a continuous parabolic motion of her left hand swiping the vibrating/digital bell ringing/SMS message alerting DEVICE v4.0, off a Crate & Barrel bamboo with Kona Coffee Bean Finish nightstand, in the master bedroom of Their sprawling turn-of-the-century apartment, meticulously restored by BBG-BBGM Architecture + Interior Design to pre-WWI Modernist Aesthetics reminiscent of T.S. Eliot in London, colonial furniture stylings coupled with modern machine age 21st Century Manhattan textures and spacial awareness, time periods converging in minimal eloquence. She cradles the DEVICE embryonically in her right hand, the smooth glass body of the technology coated in indium tin oxide sits warmly in the ivory tissue of her palm, hands that had once played Suite No. 5 in C Minor, Johann Sebastian Bach to a full attendance crowd in Alice Tully Hall in the 2004 Julliard Summer Youth Arts program at the age of 7, hands that could at one point in their 24 year history momentarily melt time into streams of emotional overture, leaving audiences elevated and unaware of why, as witnessed in her performance at the Summer Light Recital that closes the Summer Youth Arts program at the end of camp, having transformed an audience of 1096 into an assembly of melting clocks drooping formlessly in their seats, breathless midway through the first note of The Prelude, a synchronic gasp of silence broadcast through the performance hall as the air pressure spiraled upwards into a pyrocumulus mushroom cloud of low-density legato strings of the C Minor Suite, upon a gorgeous sequence that began the mathematical variation of the Prelude, the unprepared the audience could feel their breath in collective wonder vacuuming into the lungs of the virtuoso, slowly releasing self control and succumbing to the will of the artist, then began the deep resonance of the calligraphic strokes delving into the lowest register demanded by the composition to be monumentalized in the present by the cello + cellist, acoustically echoing atom sized reverberations through the recycled high grade paper programs, jittering in tiny vibrations on the knees and laps of those observing and in the hands of those squinting in the ambiently lit recital hall to find the sought after description of who and what…Chelsea King…Suite No. 5 in C Minor, Johann Sebastian Bach…Alison Dalrymple Summer Mentor… Bach’s scientific arrangement showed brief glimpses of the spiritual, elevating every object in the hall a little closer to weightlessness under the peering yellow incandescence of the candlelight power bulbs suspended above in fixtures attached to the ceiling of the auditorium intermixing with ten thousand small suns shining from the stage and dawning in the space between, like the small bright planets emerging out of thin air in the darkness as the eyes adjust to a new level of phosphorescence, bones filling with a strange and beautiful kinetic energy during the Sarabande, divided between the strange and the beautiful - half the audience shifted in their seats uncomfortably for fear of spontaneous combustion the other half in greater stillness unafraid of disappearing completely, as the C Minor Suite continued further away from science, the nearer to God Bach became, his intentions of subitism remained veiled in the abyss of the composition until she casually unfolded the organism with a brief enlightenment, the stage illuminated arcs projected from the oval shape of the cello and young cellist seated in the center under the stage spotlights angled to highlight the texture of the instrument and the facial expression of the performer, she appeared to be miles away during the performance, a tiny insignificant dot of dust lost in the infinity, she began the closing B section of the Suite sewing tides of black water permanently shut, balancing the yearning immortal within the physical constraints of the flesh, and there is only so much power one can allow through the veins, or is there (?), her persevering quest for the maximum entertained, she continued the excavation of the Suite further within ‘unknown by modernity’s depths’ of the ancient architect’s design, reconstructed with luminescent sharply defined jagged saws of the bow cutting through the static of existential confusion, the drudgery of a modern mind slowly eroded into the sound, the organization of the Suite dissolved the illusory nature of 21st technology, a message heard by those seeking ‘we are only always here’ encoded in the notes and representation of the unspeakable in aural arrangement, together by a continuous substance of heightened and continued elevation by the spirit of the heart and mind that controls the hand that reconstructs the composition note by black ink staff and blotted note, measure by measure page by page until the resurrection of philosophy is complete and discarded, the masterpiece of a blueprint on how to create a linear crescendo into the atmospheres of eternal bliss, the technical spectators analyzed as closely as possible but could find no signs of origin, saw her playing with an untraceable technique, invisible as missiles over Baghdad, only she knew how but not why, if you would have asked how her she would have said, ‘a duet with the remembrance of a far away and distant place where I am wandering lost in an ancient century forever ago playing in some stone and light room the song I am playing now, always’, but nobody ever asked, the blurring identity of the performer into an unrecognizable palimpsest, her face as Bach flawlessly rendered before the audience as a perennial chrysanthemum blooming in yet another spring on earth instinctively knowing when to be born and when to die, in perfect time with nature’s indefatigable meter whose sole purpose is to change the face of the surface with the persistence and insistence of infinity, and no one asked how or why she had played but wondered why it was her that was seemingly ‘chosen’ and not they capable of perfection suitable for both Bach and God, sheer and open jealously synthesized with the final note having just been bowed, dissolved into a mixture of discontented brilliance in the present and harmonic gospel in that distant room of stone and light, the two performances, separated by the centuries resolved in an electric silence submerging Alice Tully Hall in a wake of infinite grace, sitting quietly on stage under the increasingly thermogenic spotlights with her final bow stroke still poised, radiance emanating from the small figure on the stage destined to write future history, for a moment capturing the essence of movement expressed as only music expresses, 2150 eyes propped open by pins gazing with oil on water covered irises saturated with the colors of C Minor, peered out of their darkened skulls at the brightly lit stage, 42 eyes remained closed as the last note glided through the Cimmerian field before them, far away from the Black Sea in various seats throughout the theatre, dropped from the heavens into random coordinates of the world, the seldom audience members that found it easier to become weightless by the end of the Suite without the distractions of sight as the air in the Hall metastasized into a vitreous liquid of tension held, controlled by the young prodigy before them still manipulating their inner architecture of central nervous systems, the broken ends of neurotransmitters flashing sparks in the dark, like the frayed open cables of a transformer box on a power line tower struck by lightning, the audience sat in their pools of bright yellow and orange electricity, unsure of the constellatory sensations pulsing within, an ethereal wave crawling under the surface of the skin, massaging the liver, the sound slowly died replacing the euphoria with fear that their senses had deceived them and what they had witnessed was a false marvel, the here and now would render no way to know for certain, although they claimed to have just heard what most certainly resembled Suite No. 5 in C Minor and did in fact see the performance as the performer sits before them still in the ever thickening silence, there was no evidence of it’s existence. All that was left was silence. Pure black vapor with a spotlight cutting through the haze like the sun shine breaking on a lost island with no witness, not a single person in the audience knew how to respond properly to the virtuosic onslaught as performed by a mere child, as she sat contently having satisfactorily intertwined the multitude into a single strand of red thread, this time she chose the color ‘American Rose’ to weave the congregation, she named each of her performances a shade to match the piece, sometimes performing Dvořák’s typically sky blue B minor Op. 104 191 in bright shiny fuchsia just to keep things interesting, not that anyone ever noticed directly, although they did respond with ‘that was different’ a lot and ‘oh how interesting…’ it wasn’t for their pleasure anyhow, the memory of each performance remained as untraceable as the sound, always vanishing, always felt the urge to perform particular compositions again, having always heard the creator’s voice requisitioning to be brought into the present and briefly allow to wander from the stone and light century, favoring an intuitive selection of compositions that had ‘always been in the air’ and in these compositions discovered a secret to their performance by merely arranging the notes as they flowed from their page into their original positions of order as the mind of the composer had intended, twenty seconds after the last note she exhaled and dropped her Brazilian wood bow onto the African wood floor of the stage, her ‘American Rose’ performance of Suite No. 5 dissipated into the dark space before her into the concert lighting blinded appearance of the audience, peeking out of the wall of blackness and on the other side, an agitated coughing fit slowly broke from the back of the theatre, an elderly stood and burrowed outwardly towards the aisle excused and itself from the auditorium, ‘too smug and quite trite’ some noted of her posture quietly basking in the afterglow, and ‘undeserving of her abilities’ for ‘she hasn’t lived’, in the pale and unsettled air, as the electricity dissipating through the doors, bled through the windowed reception area, through the transparent palatial panes, out of the triangular structure into the turbulence of the New York City streets rising through the air and noise pollution, through the traffic of people walking in all directions destined for everywhere and nowhere, chattering about everything and nothing, the electric silence of the performance hall winnowing upwards like suddenly released trapped air under water shooting to the surface with a speed undeterred by compression sickness, rising twenty feet above 9th ave., hovering as spirits hover over red and blue ambulance lights flashing on my body below, it looks so quiet down there where I once was, so peaceful once detached from the whole cacophony of molecular wires tied around everyone’s lives pulling in all directions all at once, various limbs stretching in various directions, connected to what ever they have found themselves to be connected to in this life, occupations, relationships, investments, style, everything except the forever, and the electricity from the performance continues lifting further away from the street with the scenery of Manhattan swaying in the waves of the waxing tide pulling towards the moon, a lighter than air substance in the hands of an unearthly physics, a type of umbilical cord still attached to the inner spine pulling upwards away from the streets with the fairest most slight gesture, with the effervescence of a catholic hymn slowly rising out of the ashes of the world trade center towers, smoke curling from rouged lips back through the amniotic tunnel from which life falls to the earth, the opening in the sky stretching past the tops of the Manhattan peaks, all the pretty steel and glass buildings in their grids, so carefully alight tonight as the sun sets and the cars below wander most confusingly so through the maze, ascending past the American International Building, the New York Times Building, The Chrysler and the Bank of America Tower, and over the Empire State expanding outward over their majesty, covering the city in a brilliant fog those that bother to look up at this very moment will see but it will last only for a second and by the end of the sentence will be gone, gone, gone into the bluest black stratosphere holding on to the sight of the entire United States of America, twinkling and blinking below with it’s three hundred million dreams eating dinner and watching television, where the rich eat steak and drink wine and the poor eat potatoes and milk, above the earth watching rivers winding through the states like the tiny feathered veins of an aspen leaf held in the hands of an inquisitive youth and carelessly thrown to the ground to disintegrate and reappear in the spring, falling higher into the northern lights, momentarily becoming the Roman goddess of screaming pastel swirls in the sky, distortion into the blackness above, burning brighter than the sun for a moment, watched more closely than the constellations, drafting upwards at the speed of sound through the protein matrix of the exosphere into the dead silence and dead pulse of space, infinite in all directions, equally expanding everywhere and quieter than the idea of deafness, far away galaxies becoming nearer my God to thee, the energy of her tiny performance expands in the absence of gravity covering a space larger than the world, a flock of particles begin to migrate south towards the center of the universe guided by harmony, accelerating to the speed of light with a vanishing quality, away from the blue and green planet spinning on it’s lonely axis, away from the moon in autumnal equinox and the dark hidden side of it’s face, leaping past the solar system that group of planets for some reason we have come to think of as our own, yes this is us of course it is, passing virgin alien moons of unnamed planets full of colors never witnessed and never will be by human eyes, flying through an interstellar nebula of exploding stars giving birth to new gravity that will one day rule empires, a trillion miles into the depths of outer space past the point of no return, there is a place out here, out in the empty mass, that by the time the object realizes it’s proximity to home, knows inherently, a submission deep within the heart and mind, that there is not enough time in one’s life to return back to the grassy fields and the vinyl siding houses with the gravel road running past the yard and the clouds of dust kicked up by passing Ford F150’s catching in the blinking and tearing eyes of the son mowing the lawn on a summer’s noon, as the crows and blackbirds swoop down at insects flying upwards out of the grass to escape the path of the mower that will soon spin it’s vicious blade sharp over every square foot of grass, and the blue skies above are never wondered about other than noticed as their shadows create cool pockets of shade as the wind pushes them westward across the country, and the wind is never thought much of as to it’s whereabouts when it’s around or it’s origin when it’s not, neighbor’s dogs in the distance bark in the humidity and father comes out of the front door to complain about the noise and mother in the garden keeps planting small spices that will hardly yield more than a few handfuls but she’s out there doing something and that’s all that matters, the telephone lines groan a little bit as conversations pass through and I wonder how it is a human voice ever travels a distance so far so fast without either person on either end ever having to move, it’s too easy to just quit mowing the lawn half way through and go into the air conditioning and promise to finish near the dusk, nothing nearing dusk is ever done as once promised so many hours ago, in the morning I’ll get a head start on it, I’ll tell myself, tomorrow morning I’m going to wake up extra early and get a full day of something done, tomorrow whenever that side of the future arrives I’ve got plans for you, but I don’t do that I finish the lawn all 5 acres surrounding abandoned sheds, around trees, the hill in the back that takes forever and the area next to the woods that is always swarming with mosquitoes and other deadly bugs that jump from leaves and tall grass onto my legs of all places on earth to land, as the sound of the mower’s vicious blade nears, I’ll swerve the machine as their tiny thorn and hook covered legs dig into the moist with saline flesh of my exposed legs and swear to go never to mow the lawn in shorts again, I fight off the temptations of cold water running from a faucet in the house and in the lake a few miles away and gushing from a well, I fight it all off with more determination than anything I’ve known, to finish all 5 acres in a near record time, not withstanding the time to refuel the gas tank three quarters of the way to completion, so I park the mower in the abandoned shed that once held farm machinery and turn the key killing gasoline engine and for a while my ears still ring even with ear plugs, and my legs feel hilarious standing still on the ground without the engine shivering RPMs through my body, and I notice my forearms are going to be burned when I wake up tomorrow but won’t apply aloe because it feels disgusting against the bed sheets, I can feel the heat already locked in to the skin as the air passes through sensation across the freshly cut grass smelling of carbon monoxide exhaust and spring, and in the distant Minnesotan hills my grandfather’s voice, or it is just the wind, the faint mirror image appearing on the other side of the glass, no, it is the sound of the machine, the lawn mower’s engine still in my mind, walking back to the air conditioning for no reason at all I look up to see what looks like a light in the sky and as it passes out of sight I wonder if it was anything or just a streak of blindness caused by the sun, if the truth would have been fully known and fully realized I would have known the origin of the light passing through the sky, out of sight over the pleasant countryside of the hardworking Midwest the light above veers into a supermassive black hole leaving time and space and everything but mathematical theory, back to that strange beginning in a garden she goes, where we stand naked and embarrassed again, clutching our genitals to shield them from the judgment of one another as we retreat into the darkness of the caves to sleep forever with collapsing stars so dense they are everywhere in the universe, how is that for a life I would have wondered had I known, what is the life of a brief light like, go ahead and tell me you should know as well as I, and what good is it anyway when in the end of our parade we the shadows march into the sun so blindly without ever having thought, where is the source of all this light coming from, and it is our own children watching from the concrete sidewalks on main street, the funeral processional masquerading as celebration, and it is they who will follow they into the volcanic eye as the end of the line becomes the beginning and our children’s view of the mountains is replaced by the backs of the heads of the population herded away into the valley death without question, because we do as you did until what you’ve done is what I do - awaken and arise in the mountains under a clear view of the heavens, so as I sat down in the air conditioned kitchen our country house, surrounded by our 60’s styled cupboards, green electric stove, junk drawers full of coupons, dead batteries, and rubber-bands, sitting on a vinyl chair with dandelions and sunflowers patterned on the back rest, shiny chrome legs that angle slightly outward to increase the dispersion of weight stabilizing the user of the chair that is me, house with or without walls surrounded by harvest fields and the orchestration of rural Americana, earth spun and heaven bound are we and where do we go and how do I know when I am there, and as I did take a drink of cold well water, from a tall glass with the commemorative insignia of some restaurant’s grand opening event, on the other side of the country she walked off the stage without a single person in the audience noticing her exodus, retreated backstage, stuffed as many complimentary bottles of Summer Light Recital water with specially manufactured labels for the occasion into her Marc Jacobs orange nylon backpack and walked home to The Dorian Building just up the street on Amsterdam Avenue, on the journey home, northbound with the setting sun falling below the Hudson River, the New Jersey skyline glowing orange in the horizon, the sun never seemed so blinding as it does in the 21st century or perhaps it is I that has never been so blind as some folk song suggests, she walks into in the sounds of departing Sunday afternoon traffic, a philharmonic of mechanical parts in symphony with the echoes of a billion other movements and things appearing as though on the surface of rippling water refracting and shattering the light and sound through the prisms of perception, a cotton sheet of risen shapes out pushing out of the still bright but fading blue sky over America, the night and all it’s glorious darkness approach and reach out with rolling alabaster clouds that will soon cover this empire in what will feel like permanent darkness for a few hours, from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea and as the silver moon appeared in the stillness of all that is above, she vowed to never play another note until the glory of the coming of the Lord.
2013 © Copyright Brian Bradley. All Rights Reserved.