japonisme: fly like an eagle

31 July 2009

fly like an eagle

Music is most sovereign
because more than anything
rhythm and harmony find
their way to the inmost

soul and take strongest hold
upon it, bringing with

them and imparting grace.
—Plato, The Republic

The cranes are flying ...

And here it comes: around the world,
In Chicago, Petersburg, Tokyo,
the dancers
Hit the floor running
(the communal dancefloor

Here, there, at intervals,
sometimes paved,
Sometimes rotted linoleum
awash in beer,
Sometimes a field across which
the dancers streak

Like violets across grass, sometimes packed dirt
In a township of corrugated metal roofs)
And what was once prescribed ritual, the profuse

Strains of premeditated art,
is now improvisation,
The desperately new, where to the sine-curved
Yelps and spasms of police sirens outside

The club, a spasmodic feedback ululates
The death and cremation of history,
Until a boy whose hair is purple spikes,

And a girl wearing a skull
That wants to say I’m cool but I’m in pain,
Get up and dance together, sort of,
age thirteen.

Young allegorists, they’ll mime motions
Of shootouts,
of tortured ones in basements,
Of cold insinuations before sex

Between enemies,
the jubilance of the criminal.
The girl tosses her head and dances
The shoplifter’s meanness and self-betrayal

For a pair of stockings, a scarf,
a perfume,
The boy dances stealing the truck,
Shooting his father.

The point is to become
a flying viper,
A diving vulva, the great point
Is experiment, like pollen flinging itself

Into far other habitats, or seed
That travels a migrant bird’s gut
To be shit overseas.

The creatures gamble
on the whirl of life
And every adolescent body hot
Enough to sweat it out on the dance floor

Is a laboratory: maybe this lipstick, these boots,
These jeans, these earrings, maybe if I flip
My hair and vibrate my pelvis

Exactly synched to the band’s wildfire noise
That imitates history’s catastrophe
Nuke for nuke, maybe I’ll survive,

Maybe we’ll all survive. . . .

At the intersection of poverty
and plague
The planet's children—brave, uncontrollable, juiced
Out of their gourds—invent the sacred dance.

Alicia Ostriker

“Saturday Night” from The Little Space:
Poems Selected and New, 1968-1998.
Copyright © 1998 by Alicia Ostriker.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Human is a bird without wings. Plato,somewhere.
Cranes are so nice.d

03 August, 2009 23:15  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks for that quote d--interesting in context.

and yeah....

04 August, 2009 07:35  
Blogger Jacob Russell said...

A beauty so intense one weeps for joy to see it.

reminds me of the Richard Powers descriptions of the Sand Hill cranes in Echo Maker.

05 August, 2009 17:30  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

oh i'm so glad to hear it reaches you that way too, jacob.

and your reference too is new to me so i'll have to go off now and find it!

05 August, 2009 17:48  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...

This video leaves me in awe of its perfect beauty. Such a dance leaves imprints on the heart's mind.

18 October, 2009 17:09  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

hi princess -- your comment is poetry, so nice to see you.

20 October, 2009 11:31  

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