Four Songs. Movie by Barry Chern
I’ve seen it mentioned that the date for this inauguration is palindromic. (“Don’t be so palindromatic”, the lexicographers said, expunging the offending dictionary entries.) This will be the last inauguration date that is a palindrome for 1,000 years. (And I can’t wait.)
What does this mean?!?, you are wondering. I’ll tell you what it means! Well, if you are lucky enough to live in some remote isolated eden where a particular calendar is not counting up in a particular numbering system from a particular date, it might not mean sheeeeit!. However, for the rest of you, those millennia of brainwaves following that count up have had a powerful effect on certain sub-strata of quantum strings. The song those strings are playing is a kind of cosmic ear worm.
So, I tell you, it means we are standing, nay, hovering on the threshold of the conjunction with a MIRROR UNIVERSE! Which universe do we enter? Do we turn back to the weirdly familiar one which we have been inhabiting, or enter the familiarly weird MIRROR UNIVERSE?!? How would we know, having been turned around so many times we are dizzy? Which would be a better choice? How could we possibly tell?
Oh, you tell me.
As I stumble about amidst the beauty of the trees' network of nearly naked limbs, modestly dotted with birds against skies of a grey mixed of oranges and purples, lit from below by the glowing boxes, I am often filled with a heart-breaking nostalgia for the way things are.
I built a tiny hut in my mind To live in briefly in the backyard of my brain where neurons flash rich complicated colors just before they fail and fall. But, intruder thoughts in Giant gas-guzzling vehicles Their flabby arms covered with Tattoos of large muscles Came by and broke it all to pieces. Squished the exotic fruits Set fire to the drying leaves So flashed and flew in panic Before a grey ungraceful fall Now I meditate in the embers and ashes It's warmer, anyway In a way.
— B. Chern, sukkhot 2020
I had another dream where I was back in the Big House that was torn down in the late ’70s to put up a parking lot. I never stop trying to live there in my dreams. This time some group was involved in rehabbing it and someone had heard I might be interested so I agreed to rent a space. I was there having second thoughts because I had no idea who these people were or what it was going to be like, and I already was renting a place where I was all set up. There seemed to be a LOT of people there already. But, I told myself, it was good to be there with the good wood and the large spaces; and I did a little dance and stamped my feet on the oak boards of the large front staircase landing. There was a piano in an upstairs room and I was trying to tell someone it ought to be downstairs, then I went downstairs and was trying to tell someone how there used to be a full sized upright piano right there. “So, bigger than this one?” they said, indicating a little toy piano sitting there on top of a cabinet. “Yes, bigger than that,” I laughed ruefully. There were people working on replacing boards in the entryway ceiling, and I recognized one organizer as this younger musician, a much more successfully self-promoting type. I tried to tell him about how I had dreams about being back there, and thought it was going to be torn down when we left. “Oh, I thought it was just supposed to be rehabbed and sold to someone else,” he said distractedly looking at the ceiling. “No, see, it was actually condemned and…” “Excuse me,” he interrupted, “I have to go talk to these guys” and walked off while I was in mid-sentence. I went down into the basement with a bit of laundry, and tried to figure out what was going on with a bank of small coin-operated machines. The one that was not in use did seem to be a washer, so I started putting stuff in there and asked a person next to me if he had any idea how these things worked. “Well, first of all, don’t put boxes in there,” he said, pulling out a cardboard container blocking things up that I had apparently put in along with the underwear that came in it. “Oh, I don’t know what is wrong with my head,” I apologized, “I’m so flummoxed all the time.” I was having to step around construction on the basement floor, large dug out spaces having big squares of flooring glued down. I realized I had no real involvement and no say in what was going on, no real part in anything. That’s how I woke up.
There was a peaceful moment
just a little agony over facing the inevitable struggle with eggs or cereal
I even pulled up the shade on the back window for a rare look
and the bare fingers of the spindly trees posed against a long lit cloud for a two-tone fashion
subtle greys bottom and brashly contrasting summery top.
Then, there was a scratching at the back door
Did the porch cardinal suddenly decide to present demands?
No, scratching to the left and right there are never so many birds (would that, as we were just)
No. It was the wind again.
The director called strike this set
the cat started yowling again
or the cat was the director, I confuse
That cloud was rolled out stage left tout suite
Hold onto your hats
Welcome to the ’80s.
A dab at color, a rare special guest appearance.