Hide the moon
behind factories, trees,
in side-corridor trains.
Moon grows bigger and bigger.
Alvin Lucier’s Canti Illuminati reminds me of the train journeys to the East or South of Turkey. It’s a song which allows images to fence with each other. The burning tracks, the running vista, the human cargo on a sliding tray.
2’40”, Canti Illuminati & you’re a traveler. Did you have any dreams last night? Did you dream about childhood? Or about a friend or a lover? Tell me something about your past. You don’t remember… Memory. A game of the vraisemblable.
One travels straight ahead, the other
In great circles likes to go,
Awaiting return to the home of his father,
Awaiting a girl he used to know.
But when I walk, trouble tags behind,
With a kind of desultory purpose,
We speed into nowhere and never-you-mind,
Like trains plunging over the precipice.
Anna Akhmatova, 1940
A Pale, Pale Mist
Michelangelo,every so often
we are together again on board the boat
that slipped down the flowing Amu Darya,
as with our teeth we cracked open
black sunflower seeds.
We were surrounded by ropes, oil drums
and the bundles of gypsy women piled
in front of a pink sidecar.
All the while, sailors with long poles
kept us clear of the sandbanks.
Sitting on the side of the boat,
not knowing where it would take us,
we gazed upon the river’s watery ribbon
disappearing in the far distance,
into the haze of a pale, pale mist
that made you think
the voyage would end at Ferrara.
Two hours. Two countries. Two points of view. One is outside cultural life, the other right in it. One is the other’s refuge. Both are at the same time necessary and useless.