Me walking to a tail piano in apparent lustred wood. A smaller version of a concert hall one. That one’s black, this one’s brown with insertions. Like a painting. I can hardly resist the urge to play on it. But what note should I try it on from? You normally go for the central C (DO). But this time? I scroll up one by one touching the void. No sound till G (SOL). This is the opening note. Suspended like a skylark frozen mid air. Where only its last sound keeps echoing under the sun. It seems such an inconspicuous note. Hidden amid the three blacks between the first and the last semitone of the scale. But G is so much my first note ever to strike a chord as memories of my 5th grade music class flow on. I was 10 then. A song, don’t remember which one, that started with this note. And then, it felt to me, well implanted in the middle of the stave straight on the second line from the bottom like the most essential note to hold the whole material.
This is the first image, like a precursor to everything else. One that stroke a chord as an aftermath memory of a pre-dream. Was it a real episode? or a juxtaposition, a pre-set for the harmonies to follow.. Turns out this is a verite episode. Came across this piano in a recently opened cafe-theatre close to work.
The archetypes. Have four of them in the 4 circadian cycles you try and squeeze in the 44’ power nap you meant to take. Speak later, when you wake up. said R. And then swiftly, between a glass of white and a salsa coda he dropped in another conversational trigger – Ohad Naharin about to step down as artistic director from Batsheva dance company. But I ignore that for now. I need to focus on the tracks. It’s been an elaborate account yet again. And no, I didn’t wake up fully after the 44’ (which btw was a typo in our daily whtasapp conv. Meant to say 45’). But slipped half asleep through it for a slight extension that ended up being an extra 1.5 hour.
The present past
How did I arrive there, it is of less importance. Stepping into it as if from an unknown stance, an already begun word. Like waking up mid-phrase – you don’t know where you come from but you feel the substance of the present tense.
An ancient build. Something of a medieval folktale where I step into a cottage lined up with bunk beds. As if my grandma’s place, or a wooden cabin – a safe house in the village. I ran away from the streets with a stash of food – tinned food though, as if this was somewhat natural in the old times. Small tins of a pate like paste. People were sleeping or it felt like that. And through the half cut darkness I knew I needed to hide away them tins. As a deputation of royal court people would come in rushing to catch me or check the grounds. And it may be that the ruler himself would join in. Like a Stephen the Great or a similar dignitary of the elder-centuries.
The grey-brown colour of old photographs. Or ageing wood. An old newspaper that still holds thickness and appeal. That’s how it all felt.
I ran in, knowing the stash is actually legit, but the brutal enforcement may just overtake it. Force me to give it up, seize me and the goods. Etc. So I try and hide it. Fumbling around I line five or so of them sideways between the ledge of my grandma’s bed and the floor. Just enough to hold them; partly covered by the white rumpled sheet overhanging from her bed. If you glanced sideways you could see them. My grandma, half asleep, mumbles something about my choice of hide. A moan or half awake advice, or trying to calm me down or something. Unclear. Turns her head from one side to the other in the neighboring cot. The lower bunk. Mine’s supposed to be the one across, by hers, one that reshapes rapidly between a bunk bed and a cupboard through the dream. I hear voices coming, So I throw a few of them in the middle of my bed. Hidden in a pair of old Nikes of mine – a dark grey greenish hue. Some of my dearest pairs I had overused. The rest of the tins are still on me.
Someone’s at the steps outside, about to come in. It’s when I throw myself in the cupboard. (A scene and feel I’ve had when at 6 or 7 years old I hid away from eskimos that had invaded my room and breath in a sleepwalking nightmare of mine. My younger brother sharing the bed didn’t get why we had to hide away in the cupboard. And peek at the strange avalanche of intruders through the crack of the door. Holding it. Pushing and locking ourselves against the horrors of faceless aggressors.). This time there’s a couple of us hiding here. (and this, yes, is an echo of a ghost film she got me to see a couple of months ago. – “The Others” by Alejandro Amenabar. A girl and a boy similarly hiding from strangers. A clever identity-shifter ghost plot). Like me and my lover. Or a duplicity of soul. Shapes of me probably in a duality of being. We’re both my age. Mid teens? 20s? 30s?. Somewhere around those age neutralities where you still feel you despite the physical changes. The young you.
The invaders are in, thrashing at the closet door (ah now I finally get it! that’s why they called him Vader. Darth Vader – the dark invader. With his nazi-style helmet, stomping through your snowfall dreams, gutting you. The “I’m your father, Luke” revelation. Another of my childhood memorable characters. How they found a way of getting kids to cope with the horrors of the past. And even be fascinated by it. DV – the most charismatic one of the whole Star Wars series, the idol of generations. Rings another bell – I fear you she told me once. But in a way very attracted still, like all of us are by a dark secret, a locked door, something I know I shouldn’t open. And she didn’t in the end. Not so far, at least; holding for dear life like me at those closet doors).
I’m shaking inside with no window of escape. But the back of the closet is suddenly removed clumsily by someone on the other side. I dream-shift identity into one or several other people helping the two escape. We all run, as the x-vaders break the door.
The other side
A passing drop of color though – the back of the closet, the wooded plank is a painting, a religious themed representation. Like a cheap-board cutout from a Sixtine Chapel masterpiece. I give it fulgurant notice.
And we run away through waves of long threads draped from the ceiling like layers and layers of curtains. A forest of them. Thin and dense. We push through them drawing folds of pathways that open briefly, and we can still see our chasers for a second. But then the draping lines surely folding in, fogging their ways. There’s still a chance they might find us. So we lose ourselves fast along with the others in a parallel space. “Bring on the master shaman (hmm.. no that’s not the word, something more intriguing, a priest of sorts, or interpreter of signs, a deconspirator), we need him to find them now” or something like this is probably the last we hear from our chasing team. A summon obscured by the rustles and whispers of the forest of threads.
The sound box
This is where the sense of a role and purpose begins to take more vivid shape. A musical substance pervading the air, the bodies, the breath. Each one of us is either a doer or a seer. All part of an orchestra. And those liberating us was a team of such doer-seer ones. There’s no apparent director but there’s a definite lead and harmonies begin to emerge. They had been there already, but it’s only us two starting to feel the ominous presence of it now. I still sense we’re new to a strange cursive flow of being. One we must find our part in. (It took me a longer while after I woke up to understand subtle nuances like – the doer would tend to be a masculine spirit, a seer a feminine one.) I SEE this. So my seer tone quickly summons the doer, to step up into the rows singing along.
Doers would be like an ensemble of violin-like players, and every gest, of every simple fibre of their bodies a harmony of sounds like that of an accordion . Only they’d handle threads instead of violins (like those in the entry sequence) like chords, beautifully arching them with their hands (an orchestral army of archers playing instead of fighting) weaving these onto each other like bows on the chords. Creating a 3-D web of lines crossing at various levels of height, shifting gear higher or lower in a harmonious flow.
The Seers would watch the web and many points of intersection sliding higher or lower, (left or right front and back , diagonally etc), across each other and voice the song. Like reading an elaborate system of musical notes. (I’ve always been fascinated how a violin, a cello, or double base player can find the exact note on a fretless fingerboard.). Interpreters.
Hence an orchestra of musical bodies – that generate the substance of music – interspersed with an equally omnipresent array of interpreters that see and elaborate the map of sounds to a perfect symphony of stories .
A positive symphonic “in”-spiracy (the taste of a hidden meaning, but not conspiratorial). The whole thing. One you want to be and are a part of. Where you flow in.
So I – the seer – motion over to I – the doer – to take part in it and blend in. To secure this way a place in a muse-universe of wonder. There’s more to it than just a beehive hum building waves of thin and consistent vibes. There’s an individual voice. And every so often a sense of freedom of interpretation. Groups of seer-doers would meld on or scatter in groups, get back together and on and on.
The own voice
I somehow lose direct contact with my doer. We’re all part of it, so the personal tone is still connecting us throughout. But at a certain point I find I’m part of a section that breaks to a side in the group-ungroup dynamic of it all. One where I’d become singled out all of a sudden. Doers around me would pause ever so thinly watching me winding up with a single thread, one that arches between my fingers. As if a team of doers had left it in my hands to slide it’s vibrato in and allow me to create my own solo. It drops long like a “j” between my hands and I feel my way down on the chord. Finding words over words like whispers. At some point there’s an obvious sense of an ending of the actual thread bending its lower end somewhere up in the air. But the vibrato continues, there’s a need to voice things on, “seeing” an airy elongation of the line. I was hunching over the thread delicately, like over someone. And then raising these last words with an open heart up.
As a teenager I once retreated to a monastery. With a deep feel for that level of connection; a need to try and find my way in it. I remember in the night or day mass the smell of bees wax and incense. We were finding our voice in the ceremonial songs. But the songline and embellishments were oftentimes up to the singer. And I was always tempted to give it a try and see if I can come up with a relevant elaboration.
Same now. given the chance of an own voice I feel my way into the song and it weaves out like a prayer. One where the classic dogma would break pattern and allow words like brother, lovers, children, mum to phrase into a personal prayer, a personal tapestry of familiarities that I feel need to be a part of it. The personal mystery worded out. I waver a bit as I feel my way through it. And whisper
“of man what comes of God… oh …. i mean of god what comes of man… yet, try again — Of man what comes of man, of God what comes of God”.
I felt I was almost back awake a couple of times through the last lines. But somehow stayed with it to understand and live it more. Make out words, sounds. Sensations of it. Sweat soaked t-shirt, sheets, the own smell. The suspenseful violins still throbbing in my chest. Spreading out like a Philip Glass song. Thick from underneath my left arcade embracing my nose, neck, deeply in my chest and on, arching through my body onto my left leg. I still feel that vibrato all over. And cinematically a sensation of just a deep tempestuous breathe in and out. IN OUT . Slowly now.
The shadows on the ceiling a layered visual expansion of my dream. The abstraction of it. The nuances of light and dark. A sense of presence. A hidden pervading rhythm.
Being in touch with everything. Connected. And a sense of something larger.