The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

December 20, 2011

just another day in the bin

they all look alike and move alike and haunt alike
but they can't get wet and don't get muddy
and they don't get sick and they don't do shady
and you can't put their head up on a spike
or if you do they don't get bloody
and they're taped together and are really rather shoddy
and they stumble if you ask them to take a hike
with muslin and fabric stippled from another body
have a toddy, they're nothing that you or they would like


oud, double-course strings played individually: i worked this out
originally for cobza; here it creates bell-like tones resonant
with the poetics of the origin of the world. i hallucinated korea,
playing the figures of goddesses and dragons from the great tomb.
i hallucinated figures making their way slowly across the stretch
of strings, roads of limited durations. i hallucinated them
literally, my eyes closed, head pressed against the belly of the
instrument, its vibrations my very own, the singular music of
historical memory occasioned by the figures; it was their memory,
not mine, they communicated through the murmur of the wood. for
this is a strange oud, almost drum-like in the warped surface of
the top, which speaks among us, uncontrollable. blind i played,
my hearing opened to the circuitry of particles announcing the
end of history, but what an end, of the yi dynasty, emerging from
the future anterior of this memory, accountancy. the figures are
there, enmeshed in narrative, but obdurate, hardened beyond all
belief, among stories and enunciation: in other words, they remain
present, surely watching me, half-ghost, out of the corner of
their eyes. incomprehensible silence, they remain in that eternity
i can only dream of; in my dreaming i play the surface and depths
of the oud, i pass the playing on, i am transfigured, i am within
the circuit where they remain, until i leave the world.

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