Category Archives: music

Poetry Vlog 4 part 1 and 2

Someone pointed out, after watching my videos, that the beginning is offputting, because my anxiety is noticeable. Perhaps I should have edited it better, chosen a smoother introduction, but I guess I like the truth to it. Sitting in my room, trying to read or create something, and nothing happens. I instead chose to make this video. Make something to communicate. Not sure if it works. Not sure if I was true to the daisies I had in my head.

Lovingly, I accept what she says. I hope it helps another somehow.

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Great Love: Finding the Other Between Brahms and Quantum Mechanics

“We shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.” – 1Corinthians 15:52-3

There are moments when you know that a voice or language from a distant source– be that an author or memory of a past-self–comes, shattering glasses, with the purpose to lift and nudge you to hope-free joy, for to hope is not to live, but to predict, and the voices outlast all anxiety found in hope, that unstill ground. In these moments–glimpses of Great Love.

As I stood between myself and the window, I had a feeling an Other was perceiving what I soon would unwrap.

Call it opening up, call it madness, but sometimes, one feels waves when the ground is steady, feels love when all corners are dark.

These moments strike only when the mind is ready, when perhaps a broken-down-ness has occurred. And, the very moment we feel the whole world is stagnant, in the cracks of an alleyway, burst gardens! And why not? Sporadically, the Other dances in tune with our neurons. If not sporadically, we might not notice it when it does occur.

I said I stood between the window and myself while sitting down. At that second, I did not know that state of being-in-between, but looking back, as satellites look to stars, catching unseen tails in their lenses, I move toward a realization that I could, and did, stand between former despair and future unknowing, suspended.

What stands between is not really me, but the Other, singing in a tongue of unknowing.

Despair has the capacity to lull our bodies into the dance, too, but only occasionally, and with caution. For, after we begin to see ourselves as the Other, a clearing in a wood is put to flames, or, more physically, a neuronal pathway, used, shakes off.

One experience cancels the next, and to build, we remember ghosts, only ghosts.

Why can’t gardens grow out of every despair then? So what if our minds give up the clearing in the wood, brushed back with flames of the Other, destroyed, neurologically clipped?

Because, alongside the unknowing that comes with the dance, the moment when the voices come in, there must be undergrowth and new associations, though they are painful. Not to withstand the undergrowth and pain, but to understand, know.

Once, I succumbed to another sort of dance. Not the relief of the Other, but anchoring despair. Weighted, I thought to cry out, lift me up! But something wanted my attention. To know this undergrowth, to keep my life from being always “in the clouds,” a gift was being presented and I was to unwrap it. So I cried. Full and belly-shifting. But I want revelation, I thought, not this!

But why, asked the former-me, the voices, the Other. How is this any different from joy? Unwrap it, slowly, sing into the suffering. Be still in it.

From this stillness, something happens like what happened today near the window. The Other stands and allows me to be in-between former despair and future unknowing. And, in that moment, glimpses of Great Love.

It is the body where the weight of my crying rested. My body that understood something the mind was rejecting. So, when we are crying out, wanting relief, not accepting the gift, how can a duality happen? How can we have a feeling of beginning-to-know something we have yet to know?

A single electron can take two different paths within our circuits. It can, in essence, interfere with itself while trying to get from place to place, split between two places at once. And so, too, ions, which carry all our potential actions and thoughts across the brain—it is through ions that our neurons communicate.

So, as with Schrödinger’s wave equation that computes all the possibilities of one particle’s behavior, left alone, the particle has no specific location. Two places at once, five? In a wave or still? To observe is to un-know.

Just as I was walking down the stairs for a cup of tea, a person downstairs began playing Brahms. Though they had been playing for some time, I was only just aware. A thought scurried across just as I felt sadness. So this is the language of the moment. So this is two places at once. My listening and Brahms’ calling into the world, the darkness that once housed his despair. And, possibly, the person playing Brahms began in order to relieve their own sort of sadness and weight. Lifted, we are all together singing!

I remember a friend who called to me as I was running into the West Texas sunset. He was a sort of perceived knowing that the Other danced into me today. I had the feeling of beginning-to-know something. And sure enough, my despair back then led me to write about water, and in that water surfaced a stranger who saw his own face in it. Hannah! He cried, and so I was then named Hannah in his mind. And perhaps the particles in my brain split open to be that for him. Communion, between our sadness and joy, is possible, even with those we have never known.

And when I succumbed to the weighted, full crying, I sang into my arm and began to unwrap the gift. What makes me hold, I thought, to one branch any longer than another? And so each experience is its own unwrapping.

If electrons are subject to the counter-intuitiveness of quantum mechanics, perhaps so are our states-of-mind, our emotions. And how, in brief seconds, we may lift up, out of despair or unknowing, and glimpse Great Love.
See below Bernstein and Glenn Gould together perform Brahms. How can a joy-canary not be hidden in this? Even on the saddest days?

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2:52 am on 6/21

The stone is given its existence; it need not fight for being what it is–a stone in the field. Man has to be himself in spite of unfavorable circumstances; that means he has to make his own existence at every single moment. He is given the abstract possibility of existing, but not the reality. This he has to conquer hour after hour. Man must earn his life, not only economically but metaphysically. — Ortega.

I was reading this on the train. Or maybe it was the subway.

Maybe I had already gotten down to 14th street. Maybe I was listening to Brahms, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I felt like I was turning a corner on my eyelid and pulling it out, methodically, like when I was a child. So much to hold onto, in one eyelash.

When I feel like coming to the center of something, almost like jumping in front of god-knows-what, or falling from the last thing hunger made you do.

I could have been reading something else, but I wasn’t. It could have been

raining, raining, raining, raining, raining, raining, raining, raining

in the desert. And I could have had to pitch an A-frame tent. And I could have spent the last 25 hours lying beside a water-trail, waiting for animals to pass before seeing my chest rise up and down. I could have been leaving bruises on my shins.

Burning a cigarette into the arm to see what it felt like.

I could have been learning to make a fire from wood and stone.

But at this time in my life, I was just reading on the train, listening to Brahms.

I don’t have to know why I run from learning stillness. Stillness is learning me.

And circling inside this, what I said I loved before, and forgot.

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whistle by its tail


I have, for the first time, attempted to sing on a track of poetry.

Once, a long time ago, I used to sit on the corner part of the roof, above my little brother’s room in the house I grew up in, writing to imaginary beings, and watch the sun go down over West Texas. When the pink was kissing orange, when I was barely able to write in the blue-haze of dusk, I’d put down my pen and hum. As a kid, nothing was not sacred. As a kid, the ineffable was where I put my hand against my thigh or forehead, in the beat of my heart, which I assumed was really remnants of my wings I had before I descended. And there, across the dust-sky, in the heat of August or cool crisp of autumn, whispered my other-soul, freely flying about above me. Wait! I’d say. Remember me? And on I’d talk until the dusk grew heavier and darker on my back, wait for childhood crickets to crackle a reply, an invitation to leave the roof and lie somewhere below on the grass among the trees my father planted. In West Texas, stars are giving and abundant, much like my heart, willing to believe in that-thing-beyond. As a kid, my humming glittered just the same. And perhaps it will, again. As where we begin is where we arrive, someday.

And so, like my inner kid, I let myself sing some words to something. Maybe a hum because I miss home. Or home misses me. Either way, even if it has nothing to do with what I just said, I have a new wordling out there. Check it out, here: Shannon Hardwick Poetry.

P.S. this gorgeous photo which I chose to go along with the poem is by my lovely, talented friend, Becky McMath. It’s titled: Bird, Sleepy.

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