Thursday, September 02, 2010


The round table surrounded by four tall chairs and long gangly figures draped over them, elbows on table fists on chins, heels on the rungs of the tall chairs. Far below outside the abyss of shadow and chatter, the lighted stage awaits aglow with golden warmth, silent instruments engaged in patient respite like old idols once the center of a forgotten religion. Their smug demeanor communicates their certainty of a comeback. And lo! They are quite right to think as much, if they were truly thinking as much, for the musicians come tromping out to the stage. Old ones, young ones, fat ones, skinny ones, famous ones, and mysterious ones, they fill every corner of the stage, taking their places by the well rested idols, flipping switches and turning keys and knobs while pressing on pedals.
The sorcerer comes in by a different route and for him the crowd cheers, hurrah! He shouts the name of each performer in turn but the names are lost in space, sound waves that break against nearby tables never to reach the balconies above.
Then crash boom roar ta da! We’re off, all at once, idols revived to full godhead. They’re no longer cold dead things but wild writhing living creatures that wail and groan and shout. In this manner they converse. Sometimes all at once, sometimes two or three at a time, occasionally one croons alone while the others listen, carefully weighing their responses, holding their questions for the right moment. The musicians listen, the musicians urge them on with both gentle and harsh caresses.
The audience listens, they urge the renewed gods on with applause and shouts. They grin, they drool, they bob their heads and bump knees under tables and whisper questions in the gaps. What is that thing? Who is that man? What are they doing with the hats and headbands? For indeed the musicians are taking on and putting off headbands while the sorcerer is taking off and putting on his blue cap.
The assembly holds perhaps five or six sessions if that many. There are gentle moments and rough moments, but every moment is a moment that demands attention. These are not tired familiar old songs come to renew our sense of stability. These are new noises erupting from the inferno, new worlds of sound forming in the hot forge, their shape is unique like that of a snowflake, never before made, never to be made again. A shape unfolding through time, sounds as new as each moment. The noise, the noise, the glorious noise!
The silence that gives the noise more impact. The noise that makes the silence a sound never before heard. They’re passed back and forth like a ball, like a game of red like green light. A game, a game, a beautiful game, played by Gods and mortals together on a golden semicircular stage and in the immeasurable gloom upon which it is suspended, until at last the Gods once again beg respite and the mortals rise to take a bow for having been such goods sports, such obliging instruments of divinity.
Then we say game over and evacuate the round table surrounded by tall chairs to stagger out into the darker darkness, long gangly figures crowding halls and filling up doorways, cigarettes between fingers, coats draped over shoulders, hats obscuring eyes.

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