You Can’t Look Pretty And Concentrate 2013

You Can’t Look Pretty And Concentrate

(on seeing a film of Keith Jarrett’s Tokyo concert 1996)


It’s either/or:

You can’t look pretty and concentrate.

It is a kind of war between

The ego and the thing,

The thing, the more important.

It’s nice if you relax,

A glass in hand, donned new pressed slacks;

To smile and see them smile too,

Eye contacting, all the while

Performing so the thing will gel,

Aiming at a phrase well done.

But skill and fun don’t fuse,

The thing demanding less than booze;

The thing demanding ears and eyes,

Pinpointed agonizings that arise

From neither glam- nor clamor.


Calm inward

From chord to keyboard,

There’s a sword that cuts through

The cosmetics and the art.

You can’t look smarty pants-y smart

When working at the heart of art;

Your heart.  It’s not a role

But art, combining beauty, subtle flexibility,

Intellect that doesn’t show

But steers, keeping in tow

The years it’s taken. Pretty is as pretty sees.

The job is: search and strip sans tease.

The viewer only ever sees what he is able to.

The thing has got to be continually fresh

Since flesh is weak and soon antique

But music’s thing will always speak

To souls of concentration.*


You Can’t Look Pretty & Concentrate .5.27.2003

The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative; Vaguely About Music; Definitely Didactic;

Arlene Corwin

*on seeing a film of Keith Jarrett’s Tokyo concert 1996





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