Monday, December 18, 2006

Ratnasambhava Nagila (A Blogprovisation)

The guy is yellow, but I don't think it's jaundice.

He's playing a ukulele. Fine looking instrument, too: mother-of-pearl inlay, koa wood, beautiful nylon strings.

Beautiful, yellow skin built on an imposing frame. This guy should be an African king. Maybe it's because he looks so regal sitting on that horse. In the middle of L.A., yet.

"You must be looking for me," I say to him. "Who are you?"

"Who's asking?"

"Shit, you are looking for me."

"Got a question for you, friend." He says this calmly, never looking at me, plunking away on the ukulele. He's better than Brudda Iz. He continues. "I am wondering: what is the last thing you care about?"

"That's it? You stole that animal from the LAPD so you could come here and ask me that?" I step forward. My head feels like it has a saw bit buried in it and my chest is belching smoke into my eyes. I get like this when I'm grumpy; maybe I'm grumpy because I get like this. I don't know. Are you a doctor? No? Then shut up. See what I mean? Grumpy.

"Are you talking to yourself?" he asks.

"I'm narrating, Your Majesty," I tell the guy. "It's a blog. Never mind - long explanation. Oh, and I don't think we've been introduced. Please, don't stand up."

"My name is Ratnasambhava."

"Ratta-whooda?"

"I don't expect you to remember it."

"Good."

"What is the last thing you really care about, friend?"

"Uh. I ... care about a lot of things. Did you have something in mind?"

He laughed. I can't help thinking of that guy in the old 7-Up commercials - oh boy, long time ago. He's got that laugh. Do you know what I'm talking about? He laughs THAT laugh and says, "I want to show you something. You've got time."

"What--?"

He has picked me up. "It's in here. In you go."

And I am falling through space, having been dropped between the C and E string. Down I go into the hole in his ukulele.

* * *

You are a sweet song with one note out of tune. It doesn't sound messy so much as sorrowful. What is sorrow? It is the flap left where something has healed. The difference is just enough to pull that note out of position and give it that quality. It is beautiful. It is you.

And you - nothing sounds like you.

And you.

As soon as you try to write something about this song, people's bodies explode into thousand of little written musical notes that flee. Individual notes wiggle away. The sixteenth notes have found out how to flap like wings together and fly away.

Far above my head, my turmeric-hued captor is having a delightful time strumming away, and down here the uke is loud as thunder. There is a tapping sound behind me and turning I see the flapper girl tapping away. When she starts singing I realize I've heard the tune before and yet this is the first time:

I was a fool to think you loved me
I was a fool to think you cared
Everybody I meet in town hands me a frown
They think that I turned you down
But you know as well as I know
Who's causing all the pain
I was a fool
But if you want me back
I'll be a fool once again. *

* * *

"Cute song," he said, on his horse, gazing into my eyes as if he were beaming the sunlight into them directly.

"Am I supposed to say something illuminating here?" This is stupid. I hate this shit. I don't take this Buddhist shit literally.

"Don't worry, friend," he says to me, having read my mind. "We don't take you literally, either."

If you're going to read my mind, can I dispense with typing all these quotes?

Sure.

Fine. Anything else?

Oh, there will be more. The fun part hasn't even begun. Don't worry, it's all good.

It's all good?? It's all good?? A Buddha appears to me and he talks like a goddamn Southern Californian?

This has always been my teaching. It's all good. Always. The dark matter is goodness; the string in string theory is goodness; everything is worth it, and you aren't so bad yourself -- so cool it.

Cool what? Hey. Hey! Where are you going?

And who's going to pick up all these quotation marks I spilled?

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* "I Was A Fool" words and music by Manny Romanz,

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