Archive for the 'Writing' Category

Feb 15 2008

Becoming A Poet

Published by under Prose

by Sander Roscoe Wolff

Once upon a time there was a young woman who didn’t know what to do with herself. She tried many things to pass the time, but nothing seemed to hold her interest for very long.

She learned to dance and was quite good, but all that twirling and jumping about seemed rather silly. She found a singing teacher who helped to develop her voice, and she was wonderful. Children, old people and even animals would pause from their daily labours to listen to her sing. Singing, though, didn’t interest her because all the songs were old and talked about things she didn’t understand.

Continuing her quest to pass the time, she found a master painter who taught her all the subtleties of his craft, from pencil, pen and ink and water colours to the rich hues of the oils. She learned how to stretch canvas, build frames, even mix her own colours, but after a while she tired of painting fruit and trees, so she abandoned painting.

Then, one autumn, a poet came to her village. She couldn’t say if he was young or old because, although he had a youthful countenance, his face seemed weathered with experience. His eyes were a clear blue and they seemed to catch and reflect the light in strange ways. His light brown hair was streaked blond from the sun, and his well made clothes were just slightly worn. His voice was rich and deep, but with a soft tenderness that made all who heard it draw near. She was especially fascinated by his hands, which, while rough in appearance, were as soft as calf skin.

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Nov 14 2007


Published by under Poetry

by Sander Roscoe Wolff

Letterbox flag laughing “Hardi-ho-hee”
Envelope singing “At Last I Am Free”
Stamp sticky licker picks paper-cut blood
And turns from a trickle to river to flood

Argyle paperweight dancing a jig
Chokes on a prune that thinks its a fig
Fork and knife napkin unfold for the cat
Pawsing to spit at the big purple hat

Wine bottle corker despairing the screw
“Turn not that implement thrust into you!”
Merlot and Sherry prove fickle and fight
Shocked, then poor Red turns suddenly white

Impudent light bulb refuses to glow
Sleepwalking peach tree refuses to grow
Seedlings sleep sweetly in flowery beds
Visions of flatware spin off with their heads

Flatware and seedlings, peach tree and light
Wine goes not softly toward this good night
Hats, cats and napkins… well, you do the math
Letterbox flag always gets the last laugh

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May 03 2007


Published by under Poetry

By Sander Roscoe Wolff
6/29/03 12:43 AM

Inarticulate yearnings abound, boundless Love resounds
Running in place, no sound in space, no winner to this race
Man, humanity, this lump of flesh, expands
Exceeding limitations and conceptions, boundless Love resounds
This unknown face, familiar grace, moving in time and space
Human beings, stretched beyond all limits, boundless Love resounds
We stand on the brink of new knowing, new boundaries
We know only what was, and imagine what may be
We cannot see, or know, but only go and hope to show others
Where they dare not go

This place is cold at night, dark and alone here, no knowing
Can comfort this space, abandoned by the human race
No Earth upon which to make a stand, no familiar face
No walls to bounce the sound of resounding Love
Just limitlessness
Is this my humanity? Must I let go of it all to go?
How can I know?

Inarticulate yearnings abound, boundless Love resounds
Running in place, no sound in space, no winner to this race
Man, humanity, this lump of flesh, expands
Exceeding limitations and conceptions, boundless Love resounds
This unknown face, familiar grace, moving in time and space
Human beings, stretched beyond all limits, boundless Love resounds
We move beyond the brink of new knowing, new boundaries
We knew only what was, and imagined what might be
We could not see, or know, but only go and hope to show others
Where we dared not go

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May 02 2007

Pearl Thistle Plug Epistle

Published by under Poetry

Pearl Thistle Plug Epistle
by Sander Roscoe Wolff
October 1, 2006

Drinking milk, a flood of calcium in hopes of growing
luminescent glowing pearl, her love a grain of sand.
My heart slows, knowing it will not sustain this
frantic pace, racing away from her blindly
when she speaks unkindly.

Won’t this magic coalesce? I’m a swine, now where’s mine?
I want to form one ‘round this formless soul, this
strained muscle that keeps beating itself against her walls.
She laughs at my fumbling metaphors, tosses her hair and
suddenly not there.

It’s a thistle, grown around my healing heart, to ward off
eager, careless hands. Demands upon it will not stand.
This epistle blossoms in the Spring,
the sting of cruelty long forgotten,
memories of misbegotten days.

How I long to forget her, to not see her face
whenever I close my eyes. Forget her whispers, laugh,
and sighs. I close my eyes. This lingering appetite for
all that stills me, all that kills me, won’t be denied.
Have I died?

Drugs and alcohol, Vicodin and regret, a strange cocktail
mixed in a broken glass. Cigarettes burn, I can’t forget. I
yearn for that sting, the pain she brings, it cannot end until
I die. She is my life support. Am I strong enough
to pull the plug?

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May 02 2007

Come To Me

Published by under Music,Poetry,Songs,Uncategorized

Come To Me (Lyrics to

      a song
by Sander Roscoe Wolff

The pain inside has died at last
All hope has perished too
And every dream has turned to ash
There’s nothing left to do

I’ve walked alone through worse, I know,
And faced my every fear
Yet somehow as the end draws close
I wish that you were here

I don’t want your comfort, lord,
Forgiveness will not come
I want for you to know me once
Before I’m really gone

Your devils waiting patiently
Their flames are drawing near
And as their talons tear my flesh
I wish that you were here

I wish you stood inside these shoes
And bore this misery
But I refuse to call your name
And you won’t come to me

You made me in your image, lord
Yet you will shed no tear
This mother’s son has earned no love
I wish that you were here

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Jan 12 2007

Peter Blegvad: Taking Pride in the Craft

Published by under Interview,Music

by Sander R Wolff
The Long Beach Union
(This interview was published sometime in the early 1990’s)

Next Saturday, March 28, McCabe’s (3101 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica) will be presenting Peter Blegvad and Peter Holsapple. I spoke with Blegvad by phone as he was wrapping up concert dates on the East Coast. Holsapple is recently departed from the pop band REM and previously of the db’s.

“He’s a multi-instrumentalist of rare talent,” Blegvad said. “He’ll be playing guitar, mandolin, piano and also accordion. He’s just a fantastic accompanist, not to mention he’s also a song writer of the highest caliber himself. We’re doing some of his songs too.”

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Jan 12 2007

David Harrington: Unexpected Discoveries

Published by under Interview,Music

Published in the Union Newspaper on 9-11-92


by Sander R. Wolff

They are rebels with a cause. Their mission is to commission challenging new works from innovative composers and bring them to the world. Since 1973, when the Kronos Quartet began, the have been redefining the cutting edge and eliminating the restrictions placed on the traditional string quartet. They’ve worked with the big three modern classical minimalists: Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, but they are always on the prowl for exciting new works by relative unknowns as well.

“As a matter of fact,” said David Harrington, 1st violinist and spokesman for the group, “we’re opening out concert with just such a piece and its called ‘Yiddishbbuk’ by a composer I’d never heard of until August. His name is Osvaldo Golijov. Its a stunning work.”

Golijov was a Fellow in composition at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1990. Earlier this year, while Kronos was performing at Tanglewood, Harrington came upon some written material by Golijov.

“It struck me that here was someone that, the way he spoke about his own work and music, attracted me immediately,” said Harrington. “I got his address and he sent me some tapes and immediately this piece just leapt out.”

The Kronos Quartet changed the entire program for their European tour so that they could include the piece.

“We try to be ready for an unexpected discovery at any point, and I know we tend to drive people who print programs slightly crazy because we’re always changing them up to the last moment but, in this case, I think it was worth any ink that may have been spent.”

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Jan 12 2007

Steve Hackett: Music Without Props

Published by under Interview,Music

by Sander R Wolff
The Long Beach Union
Published 9/8/92

Steve Hackett has a new band and, in addition to performing old favorites from his numerous solo releases, will be premiering new material. He’s at ease playing progressive rock, pop, classical solo acoustic, Japanese koto and the blues. He balks at classifying his music, although he says that ‘Guitar Noir’ may come closest to describing what he does. His newest album, Time Lapse, was recorded live and features many of his best pieces from the last 17 years.

“We have a 4 piece, paired down,” Hackett said in a phone interview. “It’s not the same guys that are on the album. We have Julian Colbeck, who’s on Time Lapse, but a new rhythm section and the rhythm section is dynamite. I’m very pleased about that”

Joining them will be Dave Ball on bass and Hugo Degenhardt on drums.

“It’s great to have a band again. It’s like, for years I’ve been doing tours with an acoustic guitar. I’ve been doing classical things. I’ve done things with orchestras, live things, but I hadn’t had a band for quite some time and it makes you realize… I think I was away from it for so long, it’s a bit like when something is withheld from you rather than personal choice. I think it was all part of a divine plan to make me hungry for it.”

During his ‘acoustic’ period he released Bay Of Kings, and then had the opportunity to play a big festival in the U.S.S.R., with close to 90,000 people in attendance. The other acts played rock and roll and sang their lyrics in English.

‘The audience didn’t have a clue what was going on. There were all ages in the audience, from tiny tots to grandmas, and I played a piece of Bach right at the end and they all went absolutely bananas because I think they knew the piece. I managed to convert these people, as it were. Where rock had failed, music without props had succeeded.

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Jan 12 2007

Robert Anton Wilson: Post-Modern Shaman

Published by under Interview,Spirituality

Author, Playwright and Mystic
Talks about the Nature of Reality

by Sander R Wolff
The Union
Published 12/10/90

He’s written countless books, both fiction and nonfiction. Personal change, quantum physics, mysticism, conspiracy and James Joyce are reoccurring themes in many of his works. Robert Anton Wilson, armed with humor, soft-spoken enthusiasm and a keen mind, has carved out a place in literature that really didn’t exist before. His fiction doesn’t fit easily into any category.

Wilson’s first historical novel, Masks of the Illuminati, is set In England in the late 1800’s. It’s the tale of Sir John Babcock who demonstrates that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. By claiming to have an understanding of the occult information coded into Clouds Without Water, a privately printed book of sonnets, he unknowingly enters into an initiation process.

“Initiation is always the attempt, sometimes more successful sometimes less, but always an attempt to create a new Imprint,” Wilson said. “Primitive initiations, by and large, are more effective than the ones in the modern world because so-called primitives are willing to go a little bit further with those things. If you read up on the initiation rites of African tribes or native American tribes you’ll see the attempt is to create a powerful shock that will create a new imprint, to create the same chemical releasers in the brain that a near-death experience would create.”

In Masks, Babcock believes he is being initiated into a Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, an ancient fraternal organization. Little does he know that he’s being manipulated by The Beast, Master Therion, 666, the drug-crazed sex fiend Aleister Crowley. Wilson has studied Crowley’s work in depth and had a few observations.

“There are essays and letters by Aleister Crowley that make it quite clear that he was trying to come up with a technique of initiation that would be a lot stronger than what Freemasons were currently using, and one of the things that Crowley wrote about was [that] it’s hard, in the modern world, because the candidate is pretty clear in his head that you’re not going to murder him, whereas in primitive conditions they think, ‘Jesus, maybe they are going to kill me. ’”

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Jan 12 2007

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic: Learning to Count

Published by under Interview,Music

by Sander R Wolff
Published in the The Union sometime in the late 1980’s

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic stretches the boundaries of live performance. They work as a quartet, and almost all of the music they play is scored, but there’s this thing, this edge, this dangerous line they walk between classical structure and an auto accident.

Most of their pieces go through changes. Bits are calm, beautiful even, with their standard set-up of guitar, piano, keyboard and sax, but it never lasts for long. They switch back and forth, each playing drums, saxophonist Ken Field going between synthesizer and flute.

“So the fact that any one piece sounds like it has a lot of different styles in it is strictly due to the multiple personalities that the particular composer has,” Field said.

The second cut off their current Cuneiform C.D., Faultline, is “They Walk Among Us.” It has drumming that sounds a lot like “When the Levee Breaks,” and when asked, guitarist Martin Swope fessed up.

“Actually, all the things that Eric plays [on the piece] are sampled from the Beastie Boys, which are samples they stole from other people. The idea was if it was laundered through the Beastie Boys, it would be ok to do,” said Swope.

“Maybe I Will,” Rick Scott’s only composition on the record, jumped out at me when I first heard it. It’s complex, with a lot of interplay between the instruments. But again, there was this thing… just 4 notes in the whole piece.

“I work in the structure,” said Scott, “and also attempt to figure out how many melodic permutations that I can come up with to maintain peoples’ interest. I try to suggest some harmonic movement, even though it’s a little more dicey. I mean really, when you think about it, you’re dealing with a limited number of notes anyway, with 8 notes or 12 notes maybe. Probably not 12, maybe 11, so changing that to four is really just a matter of degree.”

Despite the debate on the number of notes, these guys really know what they’re doing. They’ve existed as a group for almost 10 years, and have been touring extensively on the East Coast. This tour is their first to the West Coast (having discovered that they could fly their equipment for free) and, after tomorrow’s concert at Bogart’s and Wednesday’s show at Club Lingerie in Hollywood, they’re gone.

So if you like challenging music, you’ll love these guys. This Great Religion will open the show, so get there early. And you know that you’ll see me there!

Hear A Brief Audio Clip From The Interview

Birdsongs’ Own Page

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