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Ritual C - Move! - Week 5

Ritual C – Week 5 – Move!

Steps for ritual:

1. Read a Rumi poem with Tessa in the morning.

2. Today, I am performing the ritual toward the far end of Whakahekerau (towards Otāne). Walked there after performing “Cut the Cord”

3. Recited from memory:

a. A Kabir poem translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra that starts “When greed hits you like a wave…” and…

b. Tracy K. Smith’s “At Some Point, They’ll Want to Know What it was Like” from her book Life on Mars.

4. Recited Om Sahanauvavatu from the Taittiriya Upanishad, the verse that starts the section which is a dialogue between Rsih Bhrigu and his father. Bhrigu is said to be the paternal lineage from which I have descended.

a. The sloka, which I’ve known by heart since childhood, translates roughly to: May all be happy, may all be healthy, may all seek auspiciousness, may none suffer, Aum peace peace peace.

5. Dance to Kris Davis’s album Diatom Ribbons playing aloud through my blue tooth speaker. Placed the speaker on a large piece of drift wood. Danced behind the driftwood. I listened to this album after reading about it in several places online, and having heard my friend Yuma mention Kris Davis several times as one of the people he admires most in today’s new music scene. When I first listened, I was struck by the Cecil Taylor audio clips woven into the first track, Taylor talking about art and music in general terms. “Music saved my life.” And “I made my own conceptions of the verticals” in reference to learning to play music through making rules of his own. This being how I entered into writing, but have largely coached my way out of through engaging in academic study of poetry. The audio clips combined with Davis’s own strange dissonant melody in the track, and the percussive, propulsive rhythmic accompaniment drew me to listen and re-listen to this album many times. And yes, dance to it while doing the dishes and the like.

6. Recite Om Sahanauvavatu again.

7. Bow. Full body namaskar on the ground.

Lab Notes/Free Write (started from audio recording):

Dancing on the beach to Kris Davis’s Diatom Ribbons playing through my JBL Charge 4 speaker, I made a labored mess of sand. Quads, the strings of my calves, going taut and slack like an accordion no one, not even I, whose body they are part of, can hear, see, or begin to understand. Into the orbs tied to parts of my brain that see, passersby look, watch me. They find my gaze directed back, a smiling brown face and a raised right hand to wave. What reactions follow them, arise within them, overtake them? Character? No judgment. Mood? Mars, they say, is in retrograde. Insecurities? They call this a land of plenty. The old white men, initiate a wave and smile. The younger folks, caught looking, hurriedly avert when I return their glance. What’s dangerous about a brown man dancing by himself in broad daylight? What’s dangerous about how we move? One couple, who whisper and hurry away after I return their gaze were earlier, frolicking and chasing each other in the sand. Laughing. Me watching, delighted by their play. What gives? The person, alone, is condemned to demure. The people, accompanied, permitted laughter. Who rules our rules of engagement? The seaweed all about me cracked, brittle, broken. A sandfly nips my ankles. Kris Davis, rhizome inspired, moves my legs from the past. The past that is never dead, that never moves into pastness. Rhizomatic the curriculum of this ritual, of sweat, of the marks my musculature leave in sand.

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