Duende

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Duende
Federico García Lorca

It starts in the soles of your feet, moves up
to your stomach, sends butterflies stamping
through your guts. Heart trapped by chattering teeth,
you stand there, silent, wondering … can I?
will I?what if I can’t? … then a voice breaks
the silence, but it’s no longer your voice.

The Duende holds you in its grip as you
hold the room, eyes wide, possessed,
taken over like you by earth’s dark powers
volcanic within you, spewing forth their
lava of living words. The room is alive
with soul magic, with this dark, glorious
spark that devours the audience, heart
by heart. Magic ends. The maelstrom calms.

Abandoned, you stand empty, a hollow shell.
The Duende has left you. God is dead, deep
your soul’s black starless night. Exhausted,
you sink to deepest depths searching for that
one last drop at the bottom of the bottle to save
your soul and permit you a temporary peace.

Comment: “Todo lo que tiene sonidos oscuros tiene duende / All that has dark sounds has duende.” Federico García Lorca (1898-1936). García Lorca, an inspired and inspirational vocal performer, well understood those dark artistic powers that rise from a combination of earth, air, and fire to possess artists as they weave their magic, be it musical or verbal or a combination of both. Those who possess it know that they never really possess it, for it comes and goes with a will of its own and possesses them, body and soul, taking them over. Deus est in nobisit is the god within us, wrote the Romans with their understanding of the power of performance. And they are right. Those who possess it are changed by it, no longer know themselves, turn into something other than what they are and becoming something special. “Ah would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us” (Robert Burns). But what happens to us when the wondrous gift is taken away, when drab reality takes over from the glory of the stage, the spotlight, the performance of the play? That indeed is the question. And the answer varies with each of us.  I look with dismay on the comedians who, for one reason or another, when deprived of their audiences, have chosen the darkest of exits. The hollow shells of the performers who have given their all are sad things to behold. The existential emptiness that is left when the powers drain away is difficult to live with. That is why so many, faced with this darkness, akin to St. John of the Cross’ Noche Oscura del Alma / Dark Night of the Soul, chose not to live. That is not a choice that I will ever make. And I encourage all my friends to wait, to wait in patience and hope for the light, the glorious light and fire of the Duende, the Spirit that will return, will pluck us from the depths, and will raise us to the heights again.

Duende

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Duende
Federico García Lorca

It starts in the soles of your feet, moves up
to your stomach, sends butterflies stamping
through your guts. Heart trapped by chattering teeth,
you stand there, silent, wondering … can you?
will you?what if you can’t? … then a voice breaks
the silence, but it’s no longer your voice.

The Duende holds you in its grip as you
hold the room, eyes wide, mouths open, possessed,
taken over like you by earth’s dark power,
volcanic within you, spewing forth its
lava of live words. The room is alive
with soul magic, with this dark, glorious
spark that devours the audience, heart
by heart. The magic ends. The maelstrom calms.

Abandoned, you stand empty, a hollow
shell. The Duende has left you. God is dead,
deepening your soul’s black night. Exhausted,
you sink through deepest depths searching for that
one last drop at the wine bottle’s bottom
that will save your soul and permit you peace.

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MT 1-7 Monkey’s Cage Rage

Chaos

Monkey’s Cage Rage
(Remembering  Dylan Thomas:
“Do not go gentle into that dark night…”)

“Do not go gentle!”
Monkey’s sharp teeth gnaw holes in the safety blanket;
a fist in the darkness, he punches the pillow, again and again,
until the dark fist tires and rage falls silent.

Angry words are forged in iron.
Monkey wants to rage, rage, rage,
against blind bars which bind him.

In dawn’s frail light, cage bars are less visible.
Iron bars seem softer in the silence
of their invisible, silken gloves.

This barred and barren cage
in which he bangs his head against the bars
means all the world to monkey.

But how can monkey lament the loss of liberty
when he wasn’t born free?

 

MT 1-6 Monkey Gets Cabin Fever

 

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MT 1-6
Monkey Gets Cabin Fever

Monkey has worked for forty years
among foreigners and lunatics,
afraid of the rats who keep him company,
devoured by his monkey lust
to drive silver knives and forks
through the watch springs
of their inhuman, foreign hearts.

Is there a gem concealed in those hearts,
he wonders, a blood-red heart stone,
like the jewel in the crown
of the green toad’s throbbing skull?

Monkey explores new territories
with his knife and fork.
He lifts the flap on the ventricle’s
dark, pulsing cave,
and is aware of bright red sparks:
blood diamonds, perhaps?

Rose petals gently bleed.
Monkey wipes his scalpel on his ruby apron,
and opens another heart,
searching one more scarlet oyster
for the perfect mystery of its imperfect pearl.

 

 

Roger Moore’s Monkey Temple is available on Amazon.