MORTON FELDMAN – “Why Patterns?”

Outside, construction to the new room was still unfinished. The floor was dirty with Long Island sand; the apartment, eclipse-dark. Frigid, it was always frigid, what with it being on the ground and what with my parents, upstairs, being so fond of air-conditioning. Things were in boxes.

When I came back that day, after the train-ride, after the car-ride, after an insensate stumble down to the light fixture store, the hardware store, the church…this is what I came back to. Before, when people asked me, I would say: I live…. Then I’d recognize that the weird mis-wiring of my brain was acting up again and I would say: I mean, I work in the World Trade Center. But this place, my apartment, was where I lived, both in a legalistic and a felt sense. I left it two months later to be closer to the city; two years later, almost, my parents left it, moving forty miles further east. What once was home is very gone now.

When I came back, I put this on, just before a nap. If you listen to it awake, this is music that can suck the air out of a room. Like being in a snowstorm, it can slip you into a bubble of sound where anything outside is just a shout across the river. It can infect your surroundings with its stillness, as these sounds, silences, gaps and near misses between discreet sounds become what feel like the only lasting things in the world.

But it could also unmake my concentration, if I let it. Its slowness and repetition could catalyze a surrender to the unconscious. A day or two after Kurt Cobain died, I had this crazy wish to see him in my dreams. I got Beck instead. This time, my dreams conspired with me, allowing a wish untainted by Freudian repression: a view from the north side of Liberty street, facing west, near Greenwich, an echo of a world racing away from me at the speed of time.