The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

November 12, 2001


there was nikuko. there was this girl nikuko. this is writing in the
dream-field vi with autoindent. she was in samadhi. mumonkan 42. lotus
  sutra. she was in samadhi. she was naked. her finger was in her. her
  hand was in her. her wrist was in her. her arm was in her.

  she was in samadhi. she was covered in white powder. her skin was
  burning. she was called flesh-girl meat-girl. she was a girl. manjusri
  was there. she was near the buddha-throne. she was touching the
  buddha. flames burned from her fingers. flames touched the buddha.

  manjusri was there. he asked shakyamuni, nikuko is touching you. he
  said, you are burning, burning. he asked shakyamuni, why is she touching
  you. he asked, why are you allowing this. he said, why is this in what
  law or precept. shakyamuni buddha said, bring her from samadhi, ask her.
  shakyamuni buddha said, ask her yourself, do not ask me.

    manjusri could not bring her forth. he tried towards the left and
    right. he tried in the five directions. in the six directions. he
    could not. he could not be centered. nikuko was burning, flames issued
    forth from her fingers, they touched the buddha, nikuko's arm was
    inside her, her other arm, her hand, her fingers, caressed the
    shakyamuni, caressed the shakyamuni buddha. manjusri could not do
    anything, she would not wake up, he could not arouse her, her arms
    were in the buddha.

    shakyamuni buddha said to manjusri, you can not do anything, she will
    not wake up, you cannot arouse her. shakyamuni said, there is the
    bodhisattva momyo. i will bring bodhisattva momyo. shakyamuni buddha
    brought forth bodhisattva momyo. bodhisattva momyo emerged from the
    earth. bodhisattva momyo snapped his fingers. nikuko emerged from
    samadhi, her fires decreased, her arms and hands and fingers emerged.

      of nikuko it is said she was the consort of shakyamuni buddha, and
      her fire did not cease. of nikuko it is said, from compassion she
      created illusion, from dispassion, maya, from samadhi, nothing. of
      nikuko it is said, she created nothing, she was this girl, she
      created theater and the drama, she created buddha and the stage, she
      created parable and aphorism. of this aphorism it is said, it was
      written by shakyamuni buddha, it was written by manjusri, it was
      written by momyo.

      she was this girl, she created shakyamuni buddha, she created
      manjusri. of this gloss it is said, it was written by momyo.



Le Popu Ballistique

My father sings the opera beautifully. There are nine acts and tableaus,
coloratura. It is for solo voice.

in the day:

1 Untitled: prologue
  Scene by a swimming pool. A blond woman in the distance wears a bikini
  and is sunbathing. She is framed by palm trees in silhouette. There
  are beach chairs behind her.

2 Miami Vice
  A closeup of the woman. This scene is very somber. She disappears and
  blurs out.

in the night:

3 nikuko and alan were good terrorists
  The beginnings of the somber intermezzo. The scene is bathed in red-
  brown. nikuko appears nude, outside, on a second floor landing. She
  looks wistful. There are apartments all around. She is in closeup.

4 bad people wanted nikuko's cunt even if they died
  The second of the somber intermezzo. The scene is bathed in brown-red-
  brown. nikuko continues to stare out from the second-floor landing.

5 nikuko and alan are waiting to kill you
  Bleak and darker in this third of the somber intermezzo. The scene is
  bathed in the same light as before, but the view is from a greater
  distance. It is here at the climax of the opera that my father's voice
  reaches its greatest range in an unforgettable aria.

6 alan would offer nikuko to anyone who wanted her
  Darker yet, the fourth of the somber intermezzo. The seem is bathed in
  red-brown-red light, blood colored, somewhat mottled. nikuko is seen in
  closeup again, as in the first two scenes.

7 in miami, nikuko fucked everyone and everyone died
  From a distance, the fifth of the somber intermezzo. The light changed,
  cooler, tan. nikuko is standing upright. She is still on the landing,
  leaning slightly against the railing. She is still nude.

8 nikuko would give their corpses to alan to fuck
  The sixth of the somber intermezzo, deep blood red, darker, very
  mottled. The same view as the previous scene. nikuko has turned

9 no more nikuko and alan
  The last of the somber intermezzo, green and liquid in appearance. There
  are two empty beach-chairs, recliners. An apartment complex is behind
  them. They seem to be at the pool. An open hallway is overlit in the
  background. At this point my father's voice dies to a whisper. He sings
  just as beautifully in a soft, low voice.

10 Untitled: epilogue
  The blue-green-blue edge of a swimming-pool. Bubbles rise in a parabolic
  arc. This scene, the last, is in silence. The audience is quiet.

Everything in the Le Popu Ballistique is uncanny. My father's voice, Azure
naked on the landing, the blond woman almost naked in the prologue - these
are the austere elements of this opera of muted terror and annihilation.
For the first time, trauma takes central stage. The audience leaves,
already in memory and denial. This was happening to them.



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