In downtown Manhattan all imported traditions are ancient ones. Claude Levi-Strauss saw an Indian in a feather headdress taking notes with a Parker pen in the New York Public Library in 1941. Here, the new thing is the same as its archetype. It has to be big and meaningful and empty like a taxicab rolling up to you with its light on and no people in it or else we might mistake it for something fleeting. The jazz bar must represent JAZZ ITSELF, as at the Zinc Bar on West 3rd Street I am told to look at and remember where Billie Holiday sat. So let's pretend that something can escape its already being an imitation of itself and think back to the spontaneous emergence of its grandfather. New York insists that it is possible to be something. But the folk poets on street corners tempt us with their tales of heroes--"we are just like them!" the poets say. We like adventures too! But it is no good to imitate. Heroic heroism has left the room! Ban the poets and bring in the Lingo Puppies! It's not that we let our dogs lick our tongues on the subway because they're the only people who will ever love us unconditionally--we let them because we know they'll never love us back, and love is such a pleasant thing to feel. Nothing deflates the capacious heart like the possibility of fulfillment.
At the gamelan performance I watched a dopey-looking hound trot by the orchestra of bangers and boppers seated before their gilded instruments. Is there anything more ancient than this? I am a Judeo-Middle-Western-Saxon-class sunday with sprinkles and I cann't think of a better opponent than a Kebyar Legong dancer, or a trotting Lingo Puppy. I live by my sword! I am going to be something! I've met my match in this collective cacophany with no heroic melodies or songs of myself! What is this idiophonic ideopathic thunderclap that sets my loins a'quiver so that my heart breaks out in hives?
In New York everything has so much purpose that purpose exceeds its own limits. Each space can meet the needs of each of its potential functions, even those functions that have no needs and only potential. Gong orchestras bristle with potential energy, the kind that poses a threat but never one of fulfillment. Like the dog. There is room here for us all to fulfill our potentials!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
In hopes of ousting all netherworld answerless oblivion a team of five adventuresses sink into the chthonic aperture of a maternal geode, carabiners and slick tongues clicking with resolve—a misguided death quest. We follow our team past damp paintings of amateur skill-level, paintings of beasts whose names even babies can pronounce, babies whose scent moistens the pink perinea of said cavern, cavern whence we and all five adventuresses arose and are henceforth headed. The heroic ladies shrunken to babies return—as in a final return—home—as in the fleshy fiber, post or pre biologic abode—and encounter simultaneously untimely demises and timely sapiens’s insipience. We push through to the red-rimmed earth eye and its look conjures memories of the first, longest and foulest sleep.