The Celebration

Four poems written by Anne Tardos between 2009 and 2012. Settings by Michael Byron, for baritone, string quartet, and piano. Poems and music commissioned by Thomas Buckner.

  1. Philomel's Song (2011)
  2. ONE (2012)
  3. Beginningless (2012)
  4. The Pure of Heart (2009)

 

Philomel’s Song

Coming into being.
Finding something to do.
Occupying.
When I sing, it is of Philomel, the nightingale.

That cool nightingale, who understands the tiger’s camouflage totally.

It’s so quiet today—I don’t know what to say.

The uncertainty of the uncertainty, and then the uncertainty.

Millions of ancestors inhabit me, arguing among themselves. I can barely hear myself think.

Afflictive emotions and dissonant mental states cloud the picture.

Enmity sets in.

Mistrust and disappointment.

The discourse of error.

Resisting an appetite for destruction that takes hold of desire, in the final outcome of the struggle in which the two combatants face off, leaving them with no one to determine who won and who lost.

I symbolize who I am—as simple as that.

With great flexibility and good cheer, if a tad inexact, but determined, generous, and sophisticated; composed of foggy material that’s solidifying with every day that passes, blindly staying afloat in some way, becoming human, with gusto and abandon, finally becoming invisible and, in spite of harrowing circumstances, against all odds, recognizing an image reminiscent of another reality, a means of transport into another world, as real as the one I’m trying to escape from, by entering this other existence.

A character in my play.
Both bigger and smaller.
The audience.
Me too.

I live on the intersection where language and reality meet. Where the word “pepper” cannot make me sneeze.

Rupture
division
segregation-anxiety-dread
and the heebie-jeebies.

Distortion is all there is. Reality is continually being recreated by various other realities.
The inner child, the lazy lavender slumber in the pine forest, where need becomes drive, and where You are the celebration.       

 

ONE

Time is invariant.
It doesn’t flow and it doesn’t pass.
We pass.

We learn that we are dealing with images. It doesn’t matter what the fantasy is, as long as we engage in a reality that’s navigable.

We are in the best place at the best moment.

By protecting me, you protect yourself.

Fusion, symbiosis, reciprocity, unquestioning trust.
We wouldn’t settle for less.

Humble enough to do the next thing.

The microtonal inflection of a bird, insatiable, atavistic.

The weirdness of being human. 
The brain thinking about the brain…
A sense of being.

No reason why Nirvana should be hidden from me.
The blowing out of the flame of the Self.

Looking upon death as something hygienic. Tenaciously, youthfully, deceptively, accidentally.
Who is to say how this will be understood.

Existence is assured to those who overcome every obstacle, and where evolutionary bonanza can cause being to overcome non-being; and where we can see cascading enzymes within a single cell of the brain.

It’s laughter that makes this life worth experiencing.
Genetically predisposed to rolling on the floor, slapping knee, doubling over, weeping with mirth. Enough stability to keep things from collapsing into total chaos.

The right tone, a disciplined mind, and you’re good.
Mine is the ever perpetuating fricassee of life’s continuity.
On those genre-free nights, she just writes and writes.

TV’s flickering series of trivial, momentary, unreflective, uncomprehended images. Lambent shadows of things, themselves copies of real things.

The capybaras, giant rodents, who are easily pushed around by swans, must also symbolize who they are.

Fuddy-duddy shame-face. What am I doing here?
Swim butter sway
split-level reptile
Bombay doorway rickshaw.

All part of the puzzle. Every bit of it.

Ambiguity and motivation, subject-object relationship, immediacy.

Attention to quantum physics, deluxe lingerie, silence, blood works, interlocking dreams, happy thoughts, Eros, cats and dogs, a few half-truths.

Sun spots to fear. Moroccan lavender to sniff. Great works of literature. Big complicated images. Organic farming. The South Pole. Imagination, intellect, contradiction and conflict. The Mediterranean Sea. A full system scan, and the basic oneness of the universe.

 

Beginningless

Life is a raw event
I give you roses                         You give me roses
As I speak and as you listen, I feel the traction of my words in the terrain of your mind
We speak of the great emptiness which is ultimately empty of itself (it is not reality either)
We discuss the limits of thought
The paradox of expressibility
The familiar, the habitual, we appropriate
Our mental attitudes then crystallize into instincts
Detached observation of brilliant force fields
Luminous displacements - The ride of a lifetime

The buzz of electricity - The comfort of oblivion

Staring at the ocean
Inhaling heady sea vapors

The fullness of time
An increasing sense of urgency  
Inexplicable in light of a conscious attempt at slowing down
As if deceleration itself suggested friction

Who am I and what do I mean by who am I?

Human
Hume                                                                                                                                       Creative power of the mind amounts to no more than the faculty of compounding
transposing
augmenting
or diminishing the materials afforded us by the senses and experience

The muddy particulars of experience continually give us new material to digest assimilate reject or rearrange in different degrees

Like seaweed, we undulate

We discuss zero, a finite moment fixed within our infinity
We say our infinity as we would say our solar system or our galaxy

We sense that each instant covers the entire world

We know that life doesn’t happen to us
We happen to it

And what we make of all this stuff is up to us
Our inventions tend to be arbitrary
Much is about restraint and mindfulness
courtesy
empathy
focus

Not to give in—not to succumb
Not to wallow not to slouch
Not to slip not to fall
To live to do to give

I have nothing better to do than to be here now.

Delicate gene pool
Glitter kindness
Unexpected chemistry
Thought exists : Rigid necessity

I surge forward, feeling an elastic exhilaration.

This is the current situation as it stands:
Everyone I’ve ever been I am now

All kinds of inspirations and illuminations,
Points of clarity and rays of grace
I don’t know any better point to start from.

 

 

The Pure of Heart

I use the words of the tribe to inscribe my singularity.
The parrot-meter is running.    Ticking away.
We exist and we don’t exist.       It’s up to us.       
You see how life is.
Your suffering is behind you.

Kandinsky’s struggle between tonalities, lost equilibrium, principles falling apart, unexpected drumbeats, big questions, apparently aimless aspiration, apparently desperate urgency and longing, shattering the chains and attachments that make several things one, antagonism and contradiction.

The choppiness of communication
The fragmentedness
The infinitely increasing distance between everything and everything else.

His life ended
Whichever god he was
Sang before the sea and lands

Think of the spheres as transparent and interpenetrating—not static shells but concentric ripples traveling simultaneously out from and in toward each center.

They are separated now.
One of them is gone and the other is extending the gesture of their time together.
Their succor.

I am one possibility.

Reality is the contextualizing of random information, following certain principles that can subjugate sensuous faculties to reason.

The pure of heart
I like to think
Fight back as long as possible.