Tuesday, July 30, 2013

La Habana, en versos libres: V. Dias Cinco


Not quite late, but nearly
—even so, time enough
to roll the dice
with the coffee machine;
guess who won?

To class, to class, to class!
—the last one
in which we attempt to learn
the most complex genre of dance.

The eyes,
the mind,
the heart open;
so this is the truth:
when they took the drum away,
on the continent,
The People were robbed of their language.

Expected to capitulate,
The People on the continent,
nevertheless invented a new language.

But the islands regained the drum,
by way of the invention of the clav├ęs;
the culture survived,
even flourished,
despite unintended changes,
via telegraph and telephone,
that brought a blossoming,
a renaissance,
to the tropical paradise
of song birds
walking trees
and rum.

This is a true story
[though, from his library in Argentina,
Borges would have observed
it is a true story
just made up;
this would be both
right and wrong]:
There are two birds in the forest;
both are holy beings.

One bird desires
union with the other,
to achieve the basis
that is universal:
one.

The male plumps his colorful plumage,
while the female demurs.

Though the female seems plain,
she is the Queen of
sky, sea and forest;
it is she who is mother of all.

The male, the Fourth King,
he who enjoys a good party,
he knows the Queen is best,
so he reaches into the sky,
calling on Thunder and Lightning,
pulling their power
deep into his gravitas,
placido y not.

The Queen,
she can have anyone.

The King,
is he worthy?

Right now, what can he achieve?

Is this the opportune moment
and portal
for encounter
and engagement?

Can this be love,
or merely convenience?

And what will happen next;
what are the consequences;
will the cosmos be changed?

Harmony is a coordination
of chant,
rhythm,
and movement
—one language,
heard and understood
in all times and places;
call and response,
with an outcome,
is a complete revolution,
a return to stasis and rest,
that resets the stage
for a new play.

Oddly,
“The more things change,
the more they stay the same”
is not true;
this drama kicks forward;
the revolution is really an evolution,
but only when the ritual is
correct and also unique;
there is no empty repetition
if there is blessing,
but blessing only comes
when being is engaged.

This is why the true language,
composed of thought,
                        word,
                        deed,
expressed as rhythm,
                        song,
                        dance,
is not a trinity,
but one expression,
that is being,
only when being is fully engaged.

There is no emptiness in being,
nor is there perfection;
there is only engagement with possibility.

If you believe,
if you know,
you realize the future imperfect
need not be tense;
there are no winners or losers,
there is only change,
even growth,
perhaps even understanding
and healing,
if all goes according to what is possible,
while maintaining the integrity of being one.

This, my friends, is rumba.

© 2013 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen