This Precious Paralysis


This Precious Paralysis (2016)
dedicated to Ted Nava

Instrumentation: Piano, Electronics
Text: John Tottenham (selections from ‘The Inertia Variations’)
& Hillel Schwartz (deletions of ‘Making Noise’)
Duration: 26 minutes
Cover Artwork: Ivan Gamboa

The Inertia Variations (2010)
John Tottenham

My most profound observations
Have gone unrecorded. They were too subtle
And I was too lazy to pin them down.
I was always sluggishly scrambling
On to the next thing that would remain undone
Or underdone. It was, of course, within my power
To formulate them, despite the fact
That no evidence of them exists.

Am I empty at the core or just around the edges?
Are there riches therein? I wouldn’t know.
I’m weighed down in a warm white glow,
Crushing the stark yellow dullness of the day
Into dust, statically and statelessly drifting
Throughout this haze of rust. Riding the waves
Of lostness across the landscape of a desk,
Into the bulwark of a threadbare curtain.

Anything that requires perseverence
Has a wilting effect upon me
When opportunity calls,
Apathy is the natural response.
I cannot even call myself a failure.
I have never tried hard enough
At anything
To earn even that accolade.

On the threshold of execution:
An urgent need degenerates into a chimera,
A hideous abstraction, an impossibility
Within my grasp. I consider it for a moment:
… … …