A Palimpsest For Palle




"A Palimpsest For Palle" is a serial tone poem based on Palle Mikkelborg's Aura Suite (CBS Records Inc., 1989). Palle's homage to Miles Davis is composed in expressionist serial/ atonal fashion, based on a ten-note tone row theme, one note for each of the ten letters of his name. I have taken those ten letters and invented acrostic tone rows based on words selected from a list of some 350-odd possible meaningful permutations of those letters. The list includes all dictionary entries (words, acronyms, contractions, foreign words) commonly used in English. As with recurrent notes, certain key words are repeated. Each section of the poem consists of a matrix of ten words, ten lines and is a response to the colour word used by Mikkelborg to denote one of ten moods/ sections of his suite. The original composition was written for Miles and he solos with former sideman John McLaughlin and plays with his current band and a thirty-piece Danish orchestra. To recreate the layered effect in words, I have borrowed freely from John Cage's mesostic techniques and Jackson MacLow's aleotory/chance techniques. Words capitalized form a ten-word palimpsest over-riding and expressing a dominant theme of the section. A third two-word layer consisting of boldfaced capital letters provides a verbal and visual pun mesostic tag for each section. The resulting matrix is not a response to the music per se but a conceptual piece based on the same serial composition techniques and employs fiction, autobiography, and deconstructive analysis recapitulating the primary themes of the life and music of Miles Davis.



Introduction (Miles Davis)


As a dais is

Made Ideas meld a seme slides

Devils divas eviL leads dam ideals mislaid. I'm aimless id.

I deal LSD lids mislead advise evil aims vile MAIDS

LIVE evil lives AMID lies valid aims am sad lame

Valid smiles valise I've slid slide slimed Ives sedile smile

I've liveDAmid slaVes AIDS DISMAL ass ailed e-mail laid

Dali avis DIALS dime diem dales elms dim delis limed

am led less SAIL SEAS am isis ismail essai's lad

dis Elvis aisles aimless alive dial leda eva selma mia

Dali dame edam e-mail devils divas midas visa selim sivad


White (Isles Avis)


MILES Davis Lived amid iviEd iSms' elms as Avid avis

sailed IDEAS mad miles amid lies isles idle id's is

liVed lives sisal sImiles amid veiled veda maids saved seams

sailed Siam seas alive SAVEd sad missives aime as valise

mislaid maids SIVA valse divas dime evil diem leda less

slid SMILES slim as silva ides live elms Midas vide

slams lame MALE slaves lids leads ladies slim as vases

advises vies aids aims amie amid Islam IDEALS aimless smiles

a Mali MIDAS Salem Silas vasa vas Vadim el Savid

Dali DAIS alive ism amide same ass avis Miles Davis


Yellow (Diva's Edam)


Alive amiD Ideas' Vase lAdieS laid vile LIES aims' aisles

a less ideal ism is AIMLESS iD AMi as aide

AS Elvis dies demi-devils dial deals e-mail evil slime

SLAVES smile sidle slam slim valises as aides advise misdeals

Mad MAIDS misadvise avid males amid dismal dives midi seas

Dali divas LEAD lame levi-ivied midas ad lads ideas.

Miles Davis' MISLAID misses save aimless dim aides idle asses.

IDEAS ism led Leda miles amid devils divas evil isles.

Emile ails as AIDS slim ides slide midlives avis dies

Elms' ivied deism is lived amid MASS silva similes SALES


Orange (Devil's Evil)


I'D aid milaDies sad slidEs vie deal Veda veils die

I'd Slam idealS valise save dimes leda less Levi ids

I'd dis demi devils EVIL aims deal dem sivad SIVAS

I'd e-mail Dave Emile Eva Ali Dali Mae Mavis VEDA

Al Levi Silas Sid Eli Lisa Midas males MAIDS less

mess mid mad dames less I'd dis dim devils ess

save Midas medals DIS devils isms lies meds mess misdeads

I'd sail SIMILE seas dive dim ism dams lime dives

I'd lie less lead Selma SLAVES save missed mad ideals

I'm Miles Davis vim Selim Sivad evil demi devil id


Red (Siva's Slave)


I'm male Sail seas save seals dIal deals meld meals

I dis ElVis lime dives Advise MIDAS miss ladies lie

dam aisles Scam seas am aLive vim dim dis devils

DAli LeVi Islam ISIS Midas MEdals am evil avid lame

deal dime dial ideas evil deism amid ideals lies meds

I la la ladies maids dames dial divas Elvis Isis

I'd mess mid Midas vases visa sidle slide aisles dials

I LIVE EVIL am mild Emile devil ami ivied ass

I AM IDS ISLE mad miles IDEALS ISM elms el

avid Live Aid avis demi devil selim sivad miles davis


Green (Eva's Smile)


EVA diva evil aviS ami mia leda lass miles' ass

aims ideas smiles smile mid ess missive SLIDES valid visas

dials deals sails sales slims SLIM amid maids evil lies

Ald AS DEISM'S deal mal meal sedile seal Selma's smile

Miles slides slim Siva's slide SMILE vie as Vidal's vase

Valid Vadim vas valise visa vial vise vasa VD visa

Selim Selma's SAME seme semi slams Slam Slade slime lies

lies livid amid elm AVIS dais aisle AS isle vale

Eva ess el em dias dale limed alive as avis

El elm elms Elvis ladies LISA lived as id Eva


Blue (Veda's Veil)


I'D idle less LIE less smile less id I'd liVe

I'd Dali lEss advise less leaD less LIME sidle less

slAm diS mess less misdeal less mislead less slide less

SLIDE me a dime ami saVe me Miss Siva mia

MESS mId me ami dia eviL diva save me ass

I'm a mad mislaid missile, MISS ideas' avis, Miles Davis

Alive aimless lame amid avid ladies a live evil aide

EVA'S ideal devil deal EVIL mild Dali DELI edam meal

I made maids live ideal lives laid aimless ladies lives

I am sad ami a mile's SLAVE dismal diem's dive


Electric Red ( Sade's Vise)


MILES dive is Elvis's evil id Amid Dali's devil dials

IS Ali's Islam slam a slavE's mad masS Isis' ass

a smiles valid visa Ive's ideal isle a diva's dale

a Vale's veil elm's el em ess evil diem dais

ideas' ID IV a devil'S EVIL VD VIAL as SES

Sade's sad sail a missed missive MIDAS mass medal meld

a slim Mali maid's Davis avis lead a ladies SMILE

Vidal vim VEDA VASE AIDS aimless dismal dis evil's ess

DAVs devil ides sisal siva sides vile male medal mess

a LADIES VEDA VEIL sad Lisa smile selim sivad mass


Indigo (Avid Maids)


SAil sad seas aimless lead mass miles amid Midas lies

miss limes idle iVied elms MIDS' AVIS smIles laDies isles

sail SEAS same sad slave miles mad mal ailed lame

Miss deli meals Amie Ideals midi e-mail valiD VISA dealS

Lead dim dismal midlives amid demi devils same lame ideas

Slam Elvis sales lid DIS demi divas same sad id

Dis mass sales aimless ISMS media's sidle slide slime ideals

dive Miles dive miles MELD IDEAS lead live ideas live

amid ivied elms mass med evil ideas deal smiles aisles

advise aid aim sail asid seas alive vide LIVE EVIL


Violet (Ladies Saved)


SELIM Sivad MiLes DAvis avis ISMAIL mail male aiD as

DIS ism livE amid ideaS ideal idea die Dais Diem

Dam dem IVIED diS devil ISMS dismAl dies dis I

Aim miles SLIDE dials slim simile Vie via vim amiE

I.D. ideals dive IDEAS IV vial mess mid dem as

a dam ass am ide alive lead ladies laid Leda

less edam EVA alive dissave divas misdialed I's el em

ELMS ivies ESS meld medal mesa med mead meal aid

save seals ess ails dis I slam lids lies is

die alive missile missed a live evil seme isle lea

Richard Stevenson's Miles Davis long poem sequence
Version 1.0  © 1997
Presented: September 10, 1997
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