Because we heard Matt speak these (or similar) words nearly a year ago, we can now testify: what you read below might blow your mind! But it’s even funnier when you experience Matt in person. Look for him–swimming with the fishes in Boulder & falling in love.
“So be it that this shall serve as public notice, due announcement, proclamation that the pronunciation of bass, writ the second word of the fourth stanza of Anne Waldman’s ‘Boulder Zodiac’ poem, is heretofore to be referenced in the dialect of the musical instrument (base) when read aloud from the skin atop the rib of its bearer, one Matthew Clifford. You, of course, are free to say it as the fish say (bazz), and to say any other word in any other way of any poem you may find pleasing in some way. The tattooed does not wish to cramp your linguistic freedom to style.
This choice in diction is made possible and justifiable by the inked’s long-standing fascination of, relationship with, and affinity toward his four-stringed thumpers—Priscilla and Carroll. The right hand rocks steady, aligned with body, grooving, tapping, making, keeping, moving rhythm—the left sets the disposition. In improvisation, as good performing is doing, those fingers may recognize not until the second after it happened what has been done, what expression made, felt out fade and the sounds found to be returning demanding the next piece of (re)action to durate. Instinct finds knowledge, instinct gets lucky too. Luck of the note hit, vibration struck; there is no wrong answer, listen closer, play harder.
And in Boulder this occurs, in Boulder it is likely to fall in love, in Boulder. Boulder a city to love as love is likely to befall how love do the emotions that expand from deep feeling, you will feel them all in a day, exposed, forty degree weather patterns. Hero teaching lineage touches city council meetings closing parties voting to make the streets illegal, dumpster rescue, celebrating whole food hypocrisy a right turn into a poetry reading under a full moon in an alleyway becomes a cop pulling over a bicycle rider while a fraternity brother intern leader networker screams drunken glory on by and then you are back in the living room of the collective where it is okay to feel normal and fall asleep in love with the eerie energy of the mountains and valleys cursing and protecting and not letting anything go dead. What is radical that they let die we go and make more.
So say bass and dance to the music, say bass and swim with the fishes. Come and go, come and stay, have a little temporary autonomous zone, build some community. Struggle in the bubble that bumps into each other, we are never alone, our words make a picture that can be seen from on high, tonight it looks like home. We are lucky to be gazing, please do touch, we are lucky to be stocked and not so, we are still trying. We are hoping to get lucky, we make it, we take it, our play. We say what we like with the words that we find, we draw them to be one and many. We wear our contradictions.”
Matt Clifford’s “bass got lucky,”