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.

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