The Gate of Horn
By L.S. Asekoff
Forgive me if I seem a bit at sea
but you woke me from a dream of words
I was setting to music I'll want you
to transcribe for me—a quatrain Shakespeare wrote
when he was eleven, "The uncertain glory
of an April day." At my age, what is life
but a recitativo oscuro, with its shadowy intimations,
musical aphorisms, librettos in a sigh.
Caught between willful tempestuousness
& bewildering geometries, we dread & long for
those moments of cruel lucidity that fix us as we are—Mallarmé's
frozen in ice . . .
Last night I sat here alone in the dark
listening to the overture of the coming storm—distant rumbling
like sheet metal rolling off a giant press, then the true
cacophony, a delirium of lightning bolts, thunderclaps,
whiff of ozone in charged air—as though nature's wunderkind—
"a lion flayed alive"—drove a lyric electric concert grand
hurtling over Niagara Falls. As my kinsman,
that half-caste past master of the hyper-climactic
molto grandioso crescendo, Beethoven,
reminds us, "The world is king," & we but paupers,
doing its bidding. Staring out the window in the rain
I could feel time passing like a wall of moving mirrors,
a river in which is reflected the wing of evening
speckled with stars, & thought, Night sky, whose mind are you?
The stars, the stars are inside our heads. & now
out of the silence the dead rising: ghosts of Buffalo soldiers
& Ogalala Sioux—winged messengers—like great blue herons
arrowing over the lake where the black spring lambs gambol,
late for the sacrifice . . .
I followed the tone rows & tentative tap tap tap
of drainpipe off metal roof—a blind man's cane, wandering
Oedipus—sensations uprooted to atmospheric effects,
the many weathers of this moment, this place—
its windy gusts, fleeting moods, scherzo of cloud shadow
racing over rockface—& wondered, at the risk of forgetfulness,
where do we go, venturing forth beyond our murky
origins? Recapture against failing light
memories of a rusted harrow leaning upon
a dusky barn door, a swaybacked horse the color of "bricks
wrapped in silk," thunder of boots on a hardwood floor,
& smell once more that starched white linen apron
we buried our eyes in. I hate farewells, don't you?
& the terror of coming back to what is at once new
& familiar, a reunion of two times chimed exactly
that leaves us estranged from ourselves, staring at shadows
trembling in the shade. What will save us? Who appear
at the head of our bed announcing, "Cast off your shackles
& chains!" & place in our hands the sacred instruments,
show us the great tablets scriven in the sky,
prophesying, "These are road signs to Heaven
& gateways to the Pearly Everlasting!" & looking up
we shall see on high the letters & the numbers, the figures
of the creatures of the Lord, all carved in the frozen music
of stone—the Lion lying down with the Lamb, the Oriole
serenading the lowly Mule at dawn, the Dove fanning
the Night Nurse's brow, the three Angels washing the feet
of the weary Day Laborer, & His Son come down in a cloud at last
to lift the veil . . .
Do raise the shade—& fill that glass.
Ah, whiskey is a great river . . . Is that a sunspot or a swan? . . .
What do I miss most at my age? . . .
Seeing the stars.
From this week's New Yorker.
I had an awesome day with dementordelta! Who brought me goddess cards and a book about a moose and a rubber eel! We went out for vegetarian Chinese food and ice cream, and did a little shopping for important items like bat necklaces and Halloween earrings. And we watched Rick and Jan Stratton's Renaissance Vaudeville DVD, which has interviews and clips from the Pennsylvania Renfaire jousters among others -- plus the greatest contortionist I've ever seen -- and some Don Juan and Miguel. Adam came home in a weird mood because he had a lot of homework and was extremely hyper, but then he crashed and slept right through dinner...I'm a little worried that his ear infection isn't completely cleared up.
Samhain can never come too quickly for me! Cheesy decorations and all!
I love me some giant plastic spider.
And bat costumes! Though thus far, pirates seem to be the costume of the year.
There's still plenty of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
And these Star Wars babies outfits are so adorable!
I don't know that I'd be thrilled to have my daughter in any of these, though.
A zombie, maybe!
Watched the season premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which had an opening montage to music that I thought was vastly better than the Johnny Cash bloodbath that ended last season -- anyone know whose version of "If I Had My Way" that was? (Not the Grateful Dead, not Springsteen, not Peter Paul & Mary...) The episode's called "Samson and Delilah," so the song could hardly have been more appropriate, and the action was really well done and subtle by this show's standards. But that was probably my favorite part.
I should say that to begin with I'm not crazy about all the Biblical references; a very thoughtful show like The West Wing can get away with that, but attempts to parallel Cameron with Jesus Christ are just plain icky, even for a non-Christian like me. And the Samson and Delilah theme itself, with John cutting his hair and the implication that love for Cameron inherently weakens him, that he must be able to leave his mother or any woman to die or he's not doing the work for which God intended him...blah. Really, I still don't know why the series has Sarah's name in the title when it's All John, All the Time, even when he's not onscreen. And with a new evil T-1000 female, it looks like it's going to be even more of a game of Good Woman, Bad Woman this season.
Tuesday night is Daniel's back to school night and he is singing with the chorus there, so I may be late and brief posting!