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Friday, July 12, 2013

The Song of 81 Poems



The "Song of 81 Poems" is a work in progress, an experiment in weaving composing and performing ritual poetry.

Ultimately it will consist of 81 poems, woven multidimensionally from Muse Poems I  and Muse Poems II which were composed between 2006 and 2011.


These poems resulted from collaborative paintings made with models, who served as companions in a ritual of poetic 'listening', and helped in the composition of poetry by choosing words at random, listening for the sounds they made, and putting them in order on pieces of cardboard. 

The mythology exists in every human being alive, and so could be contacted, and given reign to 'compose' subconscious content.

As ritually composed works, both the Muse Poems, and the 81 Songs, are rule driven compositions. They are works in progress. Each is a ritual that is performed by reading. There were rules for composition, and there are rules for changing and altering the works. It is very tempting to 'edit' these works, with conscious 'mind'. But this is not the purpose of the project. My other writings are 'mind' driven but in these works I perform a ritual process, the rules of which are the only vehicle into form. I render the results here on the blog without attachment to outcome.

At some point in the future I'll write a piece detailing these rules of composition. But to those that are interested now I'll say that they are very much the same kinds of procedural steps taken when performing a ritual of any kind. Rituals cannot be changed, or shortened arbitrarily.

Some changes happen naturally in spoken language. For instance if a performer can't avoid making a mistake, that is allowed. The phrase, 'He gave then it to her', read repetitively, will reorder itself and become 'He then gave it to her.' In time the adverb may move forward again, yielding 'Then he gave it to her'. Eventually, 'then' falls off the sentence altogether. The simple statement 'He gave it to her' has enough immediacy to render the word 'then' redundant.

Ritual however insists on order. In a ritual sequence the word 'then' is likely to stay a long time. This is reason that ritual texts are so resistant to change. Remember the purpose of ritual is the preservation of order, of sequence.

Bhramanic ritual provides procedures for removals of obstacles, with the help of Ganesh. There are also procedures for correcting rituals that were incorrectly performed. So words in poems become 'obstacles'. Invoking Gansesha is the first step. After that, it's just technique.

The best analogy is untying a particularly difficult knot. Even the best tied shoe will contort the lace into a chaotic tangle. Whatever the mess, any knot may be untied, in reverse. This is the essence of Ganesh. In this era of religion bashing we forget that pagan gods stand for abstract principles. They are toolkits, ways of accomplishing ends.

For me, the chief 'obstacle' in this work has been discovering and learning the techniques of ritual modification. I've let painfully cretinous sequences of words stand in these posts. They are the roughest and crudest drafts really, far from being poems in the conventional sense. Remember, I'm not employing poetic consciousness, authority, or will, or choice in these compositions. Each change occurs through the use of a particular ritual grammar. Since this blog is the tablet where these works are composed, I've been forced to meditate for hours upon the sequences in order to learn the rules.

This means my readers have been subjected to every version of every piece, from the crudest first draft to the posts as they currently stand.

If asked the question - how did you end up with this? I would, be able to show from the moment the first Muse Poems were laid out upon pieces of cardboard, how the evolution has occurred.

How 'concrete' became 'see on Crete'.

This is an experiment in language.

Brahmanism was/is a linguistic culture; linguistic ritual dictated the evolution of Sanskrit as well as Sanskrit meter and prosody. Sanskrit most likely evolved as a ritual language in order to preserve early human technologies. Getting order, and sequence right in a string of behaviors, Sanskrit made into a science.

I'm trying in my own fumbling way to replicate this process of evolution in English.

Certain words have tended to repeat themselves over and over, in both the Muse Poems and later the Songs. These were incantations to me, the one discovering the process at work. For example, 'discover', 'understand', 'share, and 'investigate' were prevalent in early versions of these works, exhortations to the performer to learn what was actually happening with the word order and meaning of these works.

It was natural when seeking to uncover sequences that 'made sense' with my models that I would record, wherever possible, exhortations to 'understand'. Since replication, from the Muse works into the Songs, many of those uses became redundant.

Many instances were removed using ritual rules. Such edits are not arbitrary or choice driven. One can make the change, but ritual sequencing may call for the removal of the word in another place, or, may insist that it stand.

Ritual naturally evolves, and edits itself once these rules become automatic. What I refer to as "round trips", sequences that repeat exactly in almost mirror like fashion, are then fodder for excision.

Palindromic phrasing thus may be simplified. For instance ABFAZBA may be shortened to FCZ. "Love to give to love" can become "give". FAZ becomes an irreducible element, like a word.

This grid of links is to each of the 30 songs that have been composed to date.

Completed? In fairness they never will finished, not as long as I read them.



Song of 81 Poems:

  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9
10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18
19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27
28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36
37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45
46  47  48  49  50  51  52  53  54
55  56  57  58  59  60  61  62  63
64  65  66  67 68   69  70  71  72
73  74  75  76  77  78  79  80  81  

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