Monday, July 5, 2010

Bang a Gong

The Batman, a reliable source of bits like this, passes along the winner of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest, for the worst opening line of an imaginary fiction: For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss--a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil.

Someday I'll win this thing, but they keep getting better every year.

Condolences to The Batman for the recent loss of his cat. Big Guy was an extraordinary companion and will long be missed.

I spent the weekend camped near The Gamelatron, the World's First Fully Robotic Gamelan Orchestra, created by Zemi17 and the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots. It's kind of like what would happen if you mated a prayer wheel and something out a Quay Brothers movie. It clanged and clattered and gonged at all hours of the day and night, and I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it. It could turn a simple exchange, such as "Does your Swiss Army knife have a corkscrew on it I can borrow?" into a moment fraught with drama and import, if you happened to say it during a point when all the cymbals were going off at once. Plus, it was great to just go into its temple, lie down, and take in the sound.

Forgive the mixing of cultures here--my mythologies in poems come from a post-apocalyptic culture where spiritualities are under stumbling reconstruction and as likely to contain pop culture deities as ancient ones. A world much like...our own (doom dooooooommm!).


Some tones are intended to welcome spirits,
Others to banish them. And then
There are transgressive spirits, who, heedless,
Sweep in on a breeze to provoke
An errant chime to sound.

The singing bowls are forged and polished as instructed,
Their brass rings true. The snake-hiss and shiver
Of each slice of metal sounds in accord.
The tongues of candle flame, in correct number, aligned.
Gold cloth enrobes the temple; the gold cloth of the path
To the door is in place. How this path blazes
Beneath the seekers' feet! All this is fine talk,
And can be read in heavy books
Of alchemy, planets, philters, and sigils.

But my longing persists in this wondering:
Why, why, you can give me no reason
For the caution against filling the bowl with red flesh,
Transmuting myself into liquid and vapor,
That the dross might be siphoned
From the gold, as I myself resolve.

Image: Cats Cooling Off on a Boat, Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

No comments: