japonisme: 11/6/11 - 11/13/11

10 November 2011

invent the sacred dance


Music is most sovereign because more than anything
else, 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
The desperately new,
where to the
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.

they’ll mime
Of shootouts,
of tortured ones
in basements,
Of cold
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
these boots,
These jeans,
these earrings,
maybe if I flip
My hair and
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.
All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, upress.pitt.edu.

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08 November 2011

reasons to believe

why have any religions at all? i can think of good and bad reasons. good includes socials and nice music. soaring, glorious music; what of the fact that soaring music encourages dissociation? is that the enduring state that all religion leads to?

now, yes-- all the religions are different; Buddhism and Catholicism couldn't be more different, could they? we are told that Buddhism doesn't even sanction believing in anyone. Buddha is not a godhead.

but they are the same in brandishing ritual and rules: anything to break you from everything you know. but from there, because that break may just be the best thing for you, don't they take you in exactly the opposition direction from where they claim to be leading you? to the truth?

we might say that the truth lies within you; then why do each of these rule that possibility out? a theory occurred to me yesterday. religion as panacea for a ubiquitous OCD. how few of us unfurl complete confi- dence every day? religion gives you an approving voice at all time, as long as you pay the dues. and raw energy is dispersed in endless, mindless ritual.

'opiate for the masses,' yes. "Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again." temper this by the fact that it could also be zoloft or pel mells, or GTOs or viagra, or baked potatoes with sour cream: anything that tells you, in a very gentle voice, how okay you really are.

just think: if you really believed that, they could sell you nothing. nothing! not Lutheranism nor betty crocker nor anything else. and your terrors would all belong to you again, and
your salvation.

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