Jun 3, 2011

Tongue Wrestling, The poet LYDIA TOMKIW


American poet Lydia Tomkiw was born in Chicago in 1959 and died in Arizona, aged only 48. Although her literature work was acclaimed in underground and even overground circles (one of her poems was included in the first edition of Best American Poetry 1988), a wider fame and recognition came via ALGEBRA SUICIDE, the band she formed along with her husband, Don Hedeker, circa 1982.  
The fruit of couple's artistic collaboration was several albums, ep's, compilation tracks, and live audio-visual performances where Tomkiw's recitations and the new wavish guitar-synth  sounds of Hedeker (who played, with few exceptions, all the instruments), created a unique combination of direct, daily-life poetry and minimalistic pop music.

Jealous
Jealous of the human heart, so ugly yet exhalted;
Jealous of the blood it keeps.
Jealous of fast cars and hot colours,
Of monks with their vows of silence,
Of  leather wrapped around the skin of silly boys.
Jealous of sex and all its power,
Of romance and how it makes you swoon,
Of men who can grow beards or not,
Of women who can play the cello,
Jealous of love and how much it's desired.
Jealous of hair that comes and goes as it pleases,
Of weather, which no one can control,
Of infants who can sleep all day,
Of lacewings that don't sleep at all,
Of houseflies and their zillion eyes,
The windows to a zillion souls,
Jealous of saints and their tickets to heaven,
Jealous of birds and their simple brains,
Jealous of people who are naturally prompt,
Of those who have too much money,
Of those who are younger and more famous than I,
I am jealous of those are older and wiser,
Jealous of good liars and lotto winners,
Jealous of the vast sky above me,
Of the threat of hell below me,
I am jealous of the world and the beauty it holds.
Jealous of the color green, so fresh, so moldy,
So much the gorgeous God of envy.
 (from "Swoon")    


Algebra Suicide's adventures lasted up to mid-90's. Their final work, "Tongue Wrestling", was made in 1994 (Widely Distributed Records), when Tomkiw and Hedeker had been already divorced.  
The following year Tomkiw collaborated with artists as Edward Ka-Spell and Legendary Pink Dots and presented her solo album, "Incorporated", but in spite of her further artistic plans, she gradually went obscure...
Tomkiw spent the last period of her life next to her family in Phoenix, Arizona. She passed away in September 2007.

Algebra Suicide albums: "Secret Like Crazy" (compil. 1987), "Alpha Cue" (1990), "Swoon" (1991), "Tongue Wrestling" (1994)... plus "Real Numbers" (live, 1988) and "Summer Virus Night - Live in Germany in 1990" (2009).

"Look there, when I leave,  for
A trace of a glimmer,
A soft, lucid shimmer, too lofty to see;
It will be what's left of me after i'm gone"
Lydia Tomkiw

6 comments:

Sotiris said...

Σημαντική και συγκινητική ανάρτηση, για πολλούς λόγους...

Capa Nostra said...

Thanks very much, always wanted to hear this one. Really appreciated!

paramo said...

cheers Capa Nostra,

you like Lydia, so i guess you enjoy it..

paramo said...

Οπως -πιστευω- ευκολα φαινεται και απο το επιλεχθεν δειγμα, η ποιηση της Lydia αγκαλιαζει και το ειδικο και το γενικο, και μαλιστα με μεγαλη απλοτητα.
Ειναι απαισιοδοξη αλλα βλεπει στο διαφορετικο κατι ομορφο.
Αυθορμητη και εγγυς του βιωματος... μιλα για λογαριασμο πολλων με λακωνικο τροπο.

Δε εχουμε λοιπον παρα να ακουσουμε και να ξανακουσουμε τους δισκους της... ομως ενας απ'αυτους που ουτως η αλλως θυμουνται, Σωτήρη, εισαι και συ...

Anonymous said...

Not working link : (

julian gavotsi said...

Υπέροχη Lydia και Algebra Suicide.Μια παράκληση μόνο.Μήπως μπορείτε να ανεβάσετε και το Swoon του 1991.