Sunday, March 25, 2018

Fragment from an Introduction

The essays that follow celebrate. It is that which is their only goal. I have no interest in demonstrating the ultimate qualities of a superior understanding, nor in revealing the flaws a certain tempered investigation might uncover. Leave both of those results to minds more lambent than my own.  I am no critic, merely a human who happened to learn how to read in circumstances unexceptional. As for the essays themselves: let it be known, they were never begun and never ever occluded. 

Friday, March 23, 2018


Sinatra croons                                                                                      from a Crown                                                                                      transistor radio                                                                                      with cloudy                                                                                          dial, while a Kent                                                                                  long-lasting burns                                                                                  in the barrel of a                                                                                    glass pistol

Friday, March 9, 2018


Cassandra liked “When It Rains It Pours” by Luke Combs.
Sarah liked “Greatest Love Story” by LANCO.
Alexis liked “Nocturne op. 9, no. 2” by Chopin.
Abdul liked “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton.
Collin liked “Dance of Life” by Peder B. Holland.
Jenna liked “Perfect Symphony” by Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli.
Domino liked (with reservations) “I Will Be Heard” by Hatebreed.
Sharon liked “Small Bump” by Ed Sheeran.
Anna liked “1-800-273-8255” by Logic.
Michael liked (with reservations) “Rockstar” by Post Malone.
Elizabeth liked “Never Say Goodbye” by the Flamingos.
Kristine liked “Sick of Me” by Beartooth.
Shelby liked “Could You Be Loved?” by Bob Marley.
Rochelle liked “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton.
O’shaughnessy liked “This Is How We Roll” by Georgia Line and Luke Bryan.
Geoffrey liked (with reservations) “Party in the Parking Lot” by Christ Gentry (feat. Raine).
Yvonne like “Turnadot” by Puccini.
Wendy liked “You Should Be Here” by Cole Swindell.
Stephanie liked (with reservations) “1-800-273-8255 by Logic.
Jannika liked “Still a Fool” by Muddy Waters.
Tammy liked “How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin.
Feather did not like “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar.
Kristiana liked “Hero of War” by Rise Against.
Lakesha liked “Single Petal of a Rose [Ellington]” by Aaron Diehl.
Clarissa liked “Blue Ain’t Your Color” by Keith Urban.
Summer did not like “Without Me” by Eminem.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


a libretto for three voices and chorus in two acts

A desolate place.

Upon the bright round bell
The buried things that could not sleep
The sun did rise to warm the hills
Upon the bright round bell  


Within the season first
Within the season last
By means of compass points

The north 
The south
The east 
The west


Within the realms of seasons
The world is found and found and found
Round a ground
Sounds abound

Round sounds bound aground
Abound around aground
The sound is deep and good
Good, good friend resound with all
All manner of sound and all manner of ground
And all manner of thing shall be well
Shall be well shall be shall be shall be shall be
And all manner shall be well

We saw the clouds that caused us harm
We saw them bright and true
We saw the clouds of war that carried us away
And felt their solace too
In heavenly choral spheres within spheres
That turn in skies above us
Maps for heavenly skies
Oh, bright fiery latitudes
Tempests סֶלָה
Tempests סֶלָה
Tempests סֶלָה


We saw them saw them saw them
The land did meet the sky did meet the shore
Everything upon the land that met the sky
That leapt upon the shore to see
Tumultuous the seas
What a churning, boiling thing the sea is
What a churning, boiling thing


The wind swept all four points
Hear the music
The wind swept all four points
Hear the solemn voice
Another voice      join in
Angelic instrument     god's own proof
Mad drum      of insolent youth
Deaf composer     wild batons
Upon a sphere enrapt 

Hear the bells the bells that ring
Hear them as they sing
Bells oh bells of beauty
Bells oh bells of song


Upon the bright round bell
We buried things in hell
The dog that caused us harm
The claw that rang alarm
The sea that turned the dawn
The harp that felled the beast
The moon that lit the path
The night that held the vault
That in the morning held  
The children’s moon
Above the trembling bell
O ring bright bell
O ring the loud the clear
O ring wise bell
That calls to one and all

Upon the bright round bell
Of Nature’s measured fell

We saw armies of the heart 
Legions in formation
Armies of the heart
Prepared for every season

The garden where we roved
Too far and farther reaches
Raising flowers glowing red
Young gather to be seen

To be heard 
for spring 
has come
Birds of air
Fish of river
Beast of land

Do stroll about 
like living garlands
The rain did fall 
and now has gone
The earth prepared 
its bed

All belts 
and milk 
move in 
With an inner 
of delight


                             flowers glowing
                             Raising flowers 
                             glowing red
                             Raising flowers 
                             raising flowers
                             Glowing red so 
                             glowing red
                             In beauty 
                             and obscurity


It strode toward us
like a ragged beast
from a wind-swept plain. 
They said, you are not well.
Spend time in the country.
The windows must be closed.
One said, drink malt.
Another, not malt, only milk.
Another said eat a half pound
of potato every day for three weeks.
After that you can try vegetables and                            apples. Maybe fish. 
Mucous being problematic. 
I went down to the effigy fires. 
I was thinking always of my childhood. 
I was one broke bastard. 
I remain one broke bastard.
There’s little money in madness,
despite what Kanye says
I had good times at Russian roulette. 
My parents loved me as they would a stray,  
they did not know 
what to do with a child in their exile.
The village where I was born I don't remember.
I wish I'd never. 
They took me unconscious across the deep.  
The days rocked their blue-green crib
where first light saw our knocked hull meet safe harbor.


The same desolate place.

                             What was that?
                             What was that sound?

                             Tell us you name
                             Where were you born
                             Why are you here? 
                             Why were you there?
                             Our minds are curious
                             They ask of anything
                             The source of its evil
                             The reason its shame

People of the chorus, voices joined as one, let me answer by means of a simple ballad composed recently. I call it A Ballad of Ballad of Song of a Ballad of Song of a Ballad of Song of a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Song a Measure a Meter a Rhyme of a Verse and a Verse of a Pome a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a Ballad a gone!


My name is John Clare                                          I live on the air                                                      I wander this land                                                  with nothing in hand                                                                                               
My name is John Clare                                          I eat when I’m able                                                a guest at crude table                                              I drink of the dew in the air                                                                  
For the sky up above                                              and the furious seas                                                do threaten the meek                                              and most of the mild

My name is John Clare                                          Who lives on the air                                              Hallowed be my name                                            John Clare, John Clare                                          O piteous mad John Clare



NOTE (For Composers of Choral Works and Contemporary Operas):

This fragment is what remains of my efforts to present a libretto to a composer friend. I somehow managed to lose sight of my original idea, only to find myself at a stopping point without having reached a conclusion. At present, it remains a fragment: that is, incomplete, broken, in need of expansion, deepening, and refinement. Which I would certainly prefer to do, though I have no solid belief that shall ever be managed. My past record of acting on intentions is not good. I give up easily and am too ready to let early difficulties signal it is time to resign. If you are a composer of choral works; if the fragment interests you and you would like to use it as a libretto for an orchestral work, please don’t hesitate to contact me. (I'm most active on Twitter: @JonCone ). It would give me great pleasure to see my name attached to a musical score in much the same way that Gertrude Stein allowed hers to be.

Jon Cone

                             ADDENDUM TO THE ABOVE:

Whatever significance this libretto ('libretto') has exists                        only to the extent that it remains shrouded in beautiful obscurity. 
Like the ingredients of some weird alien food.
Or incomprehensible instructions for distilling light                              from cucumbers.

Jon Cone