Poetry

VIDEO PREMIERE: Slow Dakota - Whitman Crossing the Sky to Spain

Will Shenton

Much of the allure of Slow Dakota's debut album, The Ascension of Slow Dakota, comes from artist PJ Sauerteig's unflinching use of spoken-word interludes. In fact, interlude might not even be the right word—these musings form the skeleton of the record in many ways, introducing the themes and reveries explored in its more traditional tracks. That's why it wasn't surprising that his second music video (after this beautiful one for "I Am Held Together") has put one of them to film.

Performed by poet Joseph Fasano, "Whitman Crossing the Sky to Spain" is a bit of an enigmatic piece. The narrator imagines being seated on a plane next to Walt Whitman as they hurtle through the sky, the poet distinctly unimpressed by the trappings of modern aviation. After refusing the complimentary orange juice, he proceeds to fuck the flight attendant, and the narration ends with a vicariously post-coital meditation on forgiveness and the nature of truth.

All the while, we're presented with shots of Sauerteig himself wandering through his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, eventually making his way to a cemetery. The final frames center around a family tombstone marked "Daly," a name that's presumably significant to the artist (whether through relation or acquaintance, I can't say). The visuals are gorgeous, and despite running for just over three minutes, "Whitman" succeeds in drawing the audience into its contemplative world with ease. Slow Dakota is clearly at home with this kind of pared-down introspection, and it bodes well for this project that it has transitioned so effortlessly into the visual realm.