Archive for May, 2010

WESTERN WORDS FROM AN EASTERN SOURCE

Unlike my previous music-impression poem, this one was included, uncensored, in my primary writers’ group’s newsletter (the new president hadn’t taken office yet).  In writing this one, I used a CD entitled, “The Javanese Gamelan” (Japan, 1987, UPC 4 988003 108205).  This music is an excellent example of Eastern classical (which rivals any Western classical, including Beethoven).  It has been performed on the Island of Java (in what is now Indonesia), for centuries.  And it is totally unique–I recommend the CD to anyone!  The music is sung–but not in English, of course, so I am not distracted by meaning.  The images evoked in my mind probably have nothing to do with what is sung–though I hope my words honor those of the singers. 

The Javanese Gamelan

(the Gamelan of the Royal House of Homeng Ku Buwana, in Jogjarta, Central Java)

Scott ____

Panbuka: ladrang Prabu Mataram, slendro

The Irish blonde sways in ways of ritual sunrise, pre-Patrician.

Her man hunts harts where none exist

And discovers a new land instead

While Celtic farmers find solace in distant sea-foam.

Ladrang Parang Kandarpa and ladrang Giwang Kusuma, pelog

The prayers of men praise the Mind of All Minds, amidst pine-fragrance.

The bell brings a lilt to the voice of the Mystic Muse.

And work becomes play, in eternity’s wake.

Slow serpents suck lemmings’ blood before their plunge.

How we envy the Sun as it blinds us to its own light.

Namik recalls his wedding to the Bamboo Banshee, on the Pearl Beach

And his eventual escape by the Moon’s Divorce Divinity.

The Atheist of Writer’s Block plows through tea and coffee

Convinced nothing cannot be written on this poetry-planet.

Madyalatri, and Ketawang Srikawuryan, slendro

Hummingbird dung fertilized this inverse cave

In which founding fathers slept between ejaculations.

The poet’s head holds a smoke of unknown smells

Within violent surges of bleeding-heart Conservatives among orchids.

The music of Heaven sounds Hell-born to the religious

Who notch all Sundays on their belts and headboards

While the spiritual remember that every day is Sabbath.

Envision a tea party of birds on a mossy live-oak branch

In the presence of their enemies, the tree-rats.

Michelle laughs, and says, What did I put in your coffee!

Yohimbine, My Dear!  I declare.

A choir of chorus girls dances daintily

In cacophanies of cannon-fire.

Let the pencil do the work, as you would a razor

And you’ll remain moist-minded.

Forge an iron mirror to inflect percussion pieces of clapping feet.

Mild scent slithers amidst monks’ mirages

Above classic clowns’ mistakes.

Hear the gong of gorgeous girls

And their shallow depth.

Then pursue powers of pretentious pairs

Of snow-covered elk.

Behold the pillar of water that drowns hot heartache

As this alien continues his jabbering gibberish.

Wayang Kulit Jakarta ‘Semar Jadi Raja’

Your grandfather was born in a field of furies.

Let the electric fan focus your ears on his fantasies.

I came from a star beyond this galaxy, said he.

I flew flowers to females, and some landed heavily

As planned.  Mialaya fell first.

Reog Ponorogo

The drum of sex is forever pounding

Especially for the sex-less, if such exist.

For sex produces us, and sex destroys us

In this clamoring Christmas crowd

Shopping for everything but gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Topeng Cirebon

Dogs dream of dragons disguised as cats

In this land of legion, where we are many.

Blue ponies ply poppies purple and plenty.

Oh, what’s the difference between alliteration

And plain, old litter!

When the fish of yin and yang divide

They’ll take the world with them.

TOO OVERWHELMING NOT TO BE ADDRESSED

After Hurricane Katrina, the American press focused our attention almost exclusively on New Orleans, and has continued to do so.  But there were just as many victims of Katrina in Southern Louisiana (outside New Orleans), Mississippi, and Alabama.  

My father–who, along with my mother, does alot of volunteer work for their church–went to Bayou La Batre, a fishing village on the Alabama Gulf Coast which was devastated by Katrina, and helped alot of people with debris removal.  It was then that I first became really aware of the fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, and shrimpers along the Gulf Coast. 

A few years later, I watched a documentary on a public-access channel, about these same people.  The program showed how the unfair importing of seafood from foreign countries was affecting these American seafood harvesters along the Gulf of Mexico.  It was, and has been practically destroying their livelihoods.  Ever since I saw that film, I have been especially mindful of these people.  It’s not as much a national issue, with me, as a local one. 

And whenever I dine at a seafood restaurant (which I do, quite often, with the Singletons), I ask the waiter or waitress if the seafood is locally caught (i.e. from this side of the Gulf of Mexico).  If he or she answers in the negative, or doesn’t know, I simply order a non-seafood dish.  There was one restaurant, the Crab Trap, at which I was told the crabs were imported from other parts of the U.S., primarily Alaska.  But the other specialty seafood items were locally caught.  So I ordered the fried shrimp–and I do believe that was the best shrimp I’ve ever had!  If I’d had a serious craving for king or stone crab (rather than blue crab, which comes from the Gulf) I might have ordered it.  But why get something that’s been frozen or kept alive in a tank for several days, when I can get fresh seafood from this coast, on which I live–and help the local seafood harvesters at the same time?

Now what am I going to order–what am I going to do?  And far more importantly, what are the restauranteurs, like those at the Crab Trap, who specialize in locally-caught seafood, going to do?  What are the seafood suppliers (like Joe Patti’s here–which, according to the Pensacola News Journal, is being swamped by customers this weekend, desperate to get the last of the seafood) going to do?  What are the seafood packers and processors going to do?  And what are the fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, and shrimpers going to do? 

For that matter, what are all other employees in the local seafood industry going to do?  And what are all those in the tourism industry, which include charter-fishing-boat captains, going to do?

The oil slick is coming this way, and is expected to arrive by Tuesday.  What are the residents here–as well as vacationers from elsewhere–going to do?

What are any of us going to do?  

This is not even to mention the flora and fauna here, which will just be laid to waste.  This environmental tragedy is a human one, as well.  We will all be affected negatively, for a very long time.  I used to think the worst thing to occur in the Gulf of Mexico was a hurricane.  Now I know better. 

When I started this post last night, my blood pressure went way up–and I had to stop in the middle of it.  This morning, I took my medication for it after breakfast, and that should hold up.

I pondered whether I should even do a post on this–it’s so overwhelming that no one page can possibly do it justice.  But that’s the reason, I guess–it’s too overwhelming not to be addressed.   

I’m reminded of a segment from one of George Carlin’s routines, entitled The Planet Is Fine, in which he reminded us that no matter what damage we humans do to the earth, it will recover–it’s we who might not.   And he’s right–the damage we do to the environment, accidental or not, only damages us in the end.  The Creator, through divine evolution, has included natural solutions to catastrophes such as this.  But they go into effect in natural time, not human time.

So all we can do, in this part of the country, in this part of the world (other than near-vainly assisting in the “cleanup”), is wait this out–and hope and pray that the earth recovers from it before even the youngest among us die of old age.


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