The Lost Coast Trail

A Call & Response Piece Inspired by Miles Davis’ Album, Bitches Brew.

Written by MFA@CIIS Candidate Dean Talamantez

Album artwork by Mati Klarwein for Miles Davis’ album Bitches Brew: inspiration for Dean’s poem. The genesis of the project was a call & response assignment for his Arts in Context class at CIIS.

“My poem, The Lost Coast Trail, is a Call & Response piece inspired by Miles Davis album, Bitches Brew. The words themselves are the piece; the fact they found each other — they have a life outside of this recording. But — the track came out really cool. It’s backed by the brash, impulsive track: Miles Runs Down the Voodoo.

I also created an audio documentary describing the creation process. The track is backed by the opening number of the record, Pharaoh’s Dance. This process included practices such as automatic writing, list-making, and elements of cut-up. My method was meant to honor the spirit of the album — meant to make the work feel punchy, slightly disjunct, yet have a smooth base like jazz.”

An audio recording of Dean discussing his process of creation for this work.
PRESS PLAY to begin listening to the poem recited WHILE READING ON

The Lost Coast Trail

On The Lost Coast Trail, the LCT, Smooth black teeth slurp back the seas; the titanic sound; the rattling of innumerable stones clacking in friction as the tide pulls back, charging the atmosphere, promising thunder that never comes.

Foam lips lap the coffee shore.
The mist, an omnipotent teacher, murmurs, “toss away your Hemingway.”

So, I do

And we, misty with dew, stand placid in the queue.

“I didn’t die on the beach,” I assure the hound in front of me.

“Why do dogs wag their tails when they’re hungry?” I ask.

“Is there a manager on duty?” I moan.

The hound in front of me turns and says, “I once saw God turn a Legionnaire into a water heron, ‘to learn to aim before firing.,’” He began raucously laughing.

“God has a manager?” I asked.

“Well, not THE God, no. But your God does, yes. Reality is …an interdimensional building with ten floors. Here, you will meet the God who operates the third floor.”

The Lost Coast Trail, photo by Dean & his wife.

I audited my sins to select the worst, eventually deciding, “What happens to land developers when they die?”

“God makes them fight Comanches in the coliseum for a second chance,” he wheezed with laughter, before eventually reassuring me,

“You’ll be fine; I pity those who commit suicide to escape themselves because when they die, guess who’s coming along with them? The worm never dies, my friend.”

His laughter continued;
His audacity shocked me.
I demanded, “Who are you to say such things?”
“Who doesn’t have the right to say anything?” was his reply.

I pressed, “Why do dogs wag their tails to tell us they’re hungry? Meekly meandering things, aimlessly, smiling huddled in mass around their master’s feet begging for scraps, begging and — wagging. Damn it! Where is management?”

Ahead of me, a cow languidly worked its maw, a couple of cats prattled on, cool and punchy until the tide came in and licked their paws by surprise.

They hopped like dolphins then strutted like sassy fools before eventually calming into the misery of it all.

“Did you bring your Hemingway?” the hound asked.
Charged yet placid, windless turbines, holey bedsheet sails, parched, now only meekly mumbling, “Has anyone seen management?”

The tide pulls back its lips revealing its smooth glassy black smile.

The rattle charges the atmosphere, promising thunder that never comes, and we stand, in queue, wagging in mass.

The automatic writing process utilized by Dean to complete this work.

Dean Talamantez is a MFA candidate at the Interdisciplinary Arts and Writing MFA Program at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. For more of Deans’ work and others like it, follow us here and check out our Instagram!

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MFA@CIIS

Blog of the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Writing program at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.