Saturday, May 05, 2007

Nightingale: The Ponderous Muse, Light Man, the Architect

Frances Duncombe stumbled out this morning in all her beautifully messy wonder. She and the Light Man had wrapped themselves around a bottle of champagne early this morning (as is only fitting for an exit), and thus love became. "Such a beautiful. Such a beautiful. Such a beautiful." After three weeks of bacchinelea, we (the Coven slowly morphed into the Lovers) wound down this morning with mimosas and southern home cooking at Mom's on the North Dixie Highway.

Last night the brushfire/gleam in a hound's eye/turnip/chango moon greeted us yet once again as we kissed our skin with ocean salt late into the night. Frances was Free. The Lovers were gleaming. All of them. The Mother Goddess spent hours in the ocean. The High Priestess coveted the moon. The Three Muses joined us in our romps, pulled out by the tide and returning yet once again. The Coven was missing our Warrior, and today the Mother Goddess, the Star, Frances and the Owl all departed. Who remains are the Lover and the High Priestess. We are joined by the Fire Keeper and Venus. And the other side of the Lover.

Departure is sad. Apparently the Owl walked into the kitchen this morning, searching for a place to land before flying off. We were all lost in the throes of sleep, or wandering through the misty forests (thanks to The Gardener) of hedonistic pleasures. None of us dared to call the birds or the armadillos out from their nests.

Oh, where to begin to describe this wonderful mystery that occurred while here? I have to admit I was closed when I arrived. I was hesitant, confused. Unwilling. I surprised myself with my impatience. I had come prepared to enclose myself in a studio and write for hours on end. But I've been writing in marvelously short stanzas of time. And spending hours with the other artists, just soaking in our collective knowledge and even brilliance. The Singing Muse taught me about the beauty of chaos, as did Frances. All the Fierce Bad Rabbits taught me a ton about collaboration and the sound of wind. The other side of the Lover just went to town and worked with everybody. He is the original Fierce Bad Rabbit. The Gardener left a few days early, but his heart beat left echoes that rippled through us. The Architect and Hyde built us solace in the woods.

The Laughing Muse made a bar for us, invited us into her art space where we could sit for hours (or as long as needed to lose feeling in our legs) to enjoy cocktails and Sophie the Unicorn. We discussed Godard, Cat Power and all manner of obscure films up in the Hyde & Smoke Fuck Off Bar. On the off nights that we celebrated creative endeavours such as the Nerve Opera, we ended up in the Dance Studio, singing Karaoke. The Scribe inspired me to consider a new project when she wrote Most on my arm, a tingling which lasted for days. Her handwriting is so beautiful, and the words were so ephemeral and smart. That was fun. Thank you Scribe.

The Owl, Frances, the Lover and I went strolling on the beach yesterday, combing the sand for shells and chasing off sandpipers. Words were exhausted from our mouths and minds, we had just visited the strange bookstore in the strange strip mall, only to discover we couldn't find any strange books. Despite all of this, the Owl managed to compose a love-filled poem for the Coven early Friday morning, with which she surprised us on Friday night. Before the moon. And the ocean. And The Muses' wanderings in the sea.

I have spent the last three nights at the ocean. The first night was at 2am, and I went by myself. The second night it was the Coven and we went to watch the moon rise. And last night, all the tribes gathered around the light house and watched the moon and stars dance off the waves. I just learned this morning that The Mother Hen knows how to make flutes. By hand. And to think a week ago today I was having a picnic in Powderhorn Park with The Crew up in Minneapolis.

In the midst of arriving, I left and went up to Minneapolis. I did a couple of readings, one at Amazon bookstore and the second at the University of Minnesota, which I really enjoyed. I read with Latasha N Nevada Diggs - and who knew our work would speak to the other's in the ways that it did. That was definitely a highlight. As was going to Ananya Chatterjea's dance class and being a part of the dance company's space. Their dancing was incredible - it opened me up to an entirely new relationship to the vocabulary of dance. Ananya uses Odissi movement style in completely contemporary arrangements. Because I don't know enough about dance to understand all the subtleties of what she's doing, let me just rest on the fact that her commitment to embedding new narratives in the bodies of women of color, using a vocabulary based on traditional Odissi dance form is powerful. So. Amazingly. Powerful. And I loved being in a room with dancers, to see yet another group of artists and how they relate to space and time.

Other highlights of the trip included meeting the fabulous crew of grad students from the "U", who danced, dj'ed and partied with great questions at the tips of their tongues. Y'all rock!! And, as someone who doesn't spend a great deal of time with academics, it was wonderful to connect with embodied brains. Also special meeting Jigna Desai, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota (Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies) who was wonderful to talk to, especially about all the incredibly interesting work on South Asian Diasporic cinema and gender/sexuality research. Special shout out to my sister Omise'eke and The Crew who greeted me with such generous love. All round props.

I'm off to mellow in the sun for the rest of the afternoon. I will be posting some pieces up here shortly; I did not even come close to completing the work I came to do. But I learned that I have a lot of research to do in order to complete it. Instead, I was able to create a performance piece - thanks, again, to the Fierce Bad Rabbits who completely inspired me on the Tuesday night jam session - and a few new types of poems. I cracked the labyrinthine structure of the hybrid text "Cantos" on which I plan to work for the next 10 years. And got nourished by the words of the powerful, brilliant Coven. I feel so fortunate that we got a zine out of the whole thing and that I get to walk away with a small physical/material representation of all that came out of this rich time together.

I am so especially grateful to have spent such precious time with The Owl. I will never read Allen's White Shroud the same way again, and Kaddish, Kaddish, understand the sorrow of Kaddish in a whole new way, too. The Owl, both fragile and precise, gave me tarot, dreams, the self/soul dialogues, and so many, many words with which to work. Thank you.

The sun beckons my heart falls forward. I go.


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