Monday, August 25, 2008

first night

(the moon as seen before the eclipse, through the Bone Tree)

Today Burning Man 2008 begins in the Black Rock Desert, and I will not be there. I feel good about that, although of course I would love to be there, because going to Burning Man in the first place was an amazing miracle that I thought I might never accomplish, and now I have been twice! So, to my dear friends on the playa tonight, I dedicate this poem that I wrote about my first night last year during the outstanding lunar eclipse. I hope you all the change the world, one dusty step at a time.

(during the eclipse)

we were bicycle pilgrims in the flat desert night
watched the looming moon disappear into eclipse
the absence of the silver brilliant sheen rendered the scene undercover
like an underground movement of salvation seeking souls.
hallucinated colors orbited the newborn stars of the falsely dark sky
the rust colored orb slowly arced through shifting star trails
and chaos reigned as the effigy burned by arson nearby.
but all around a neon city grew from the bottom up
the bare bones of geodesic domes filled with
towers of speaker stacks eager to create oases of sound.
the moon in totality loped at a timeless pace
we wondered like the ancients if the world was ending
or just beginning
and if we would ever see her silver face again.
our answer was to commence the ritual
fired up the gas generators to start the electric drums
that echoed over the long silent floor of the empty lake bed
now brittle, dry and alkaline.
the boom of the beat drove bodies to move
to shake and stomp and beg for the light
all the while worshiping the dark.
I danced the prayers of a thousand deities into white dinosaur bone dust
felt the mercury moonglow like liquid as it seeped
cold and crystal bright from the edges of the swollen shadowed satellite
witnessed the sky’s evolution from india ink to azure
my own shadow once again cast long on the ground by
the lunar spotlight shining just above the mountain horizon
where she headed for her morning’s rest.
but before the moon laid herself down
the beat belied a hint of brassy
the distant line of the opposite horizon
began to glimmer with a warm edge of daylight.
we were engulfed between cool blue waning
and golden dawn fire waxing
breathing in the powdered shells of trilobites
rising in fossil clouds from beneath our pounding feet
rising as the smoke from the still smoldering remains of the man
who we would resurrect only to burn again
and the music carried us
as our shadows centered into ourselves
between the moon and the sun
in the exact moment
that our day was born of night.

(the man still smoldering as the eclipse wanes)

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