We were in the dark… chanting… insistent, savage, throbbing crescendoes… of ecstasy…

7 February 2012 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in art | No Comments »

The poetry of Ken Nordine (“Flibberty Jib”, Word Jazz, 1957), his voice, too, and the deeper-than-thou tribal house music of Dan Robbins (“D.B.D (Chanting in the Dark) (Original Mix)”, 2001).

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Syntactico-morpho-lexico-sono palette:

There was this stranger who came into our town. He was tall; and had a dark look about him; and a special brilliance was in his eyes. When he looked at us, it was the feeling that he could see right down to the bottom. We may have been mistaken in this, but at the time no questions were asked. The questions always come later. All we cared about was the mystery we sensed in this stranger, and we waited to see what would happen.

One evening, that was different from any other, he got us all together in the big auditorium. He stood there on the huge stage. The only light was on him and we waited in the dark. Then out of his tallness came the chanting; first as a whisper we could hardly hear: “The flibberty jib bom the bippity bop; the flibberty jib bom the bippity bop.” It didn’t make any sense. We were caught up in something we didn’t understand. He had trapped us without our knowing it. Possibly it was his manner. And we came alive to him as he slowly moved us with his chant through the land of hush, into insistent savage throbbing crescendos of ecstasy. As if it were the only thing we could do, we started to chant with him, “The flibberty jib bom the bippity bop; the flibberty jib bom the bippity bop.” And he was up on the high stage laughing with all his might, saying, “Yes, yes, yes.”

But there were those among us who were jealous of his powers. Who felt they should be in the center of the stage with the light shining on them. They were against our hero and the chanting and our going to be with him every free moment. And so little by little a little later, these critics set to work to make nonsense out of the sense of what we were doing; and they succeeded. They destroyed our hero’s faith in himself. He didn’t have it any more. After a few disappointing times in the big auditorium, the light gone out of him, we all stopped going. And the man who had once seemed so tall and who now seemed so much smaller, left our town, saying, “No, no, no.”

We lived through the boredom of the time that followed, telling each other pale stories of what once was and what might have been if. We lived on histories and hopes. We did this, until the miracle we never thought would happen again happened. Another stranger came into our town, and he too was tall and dark and had eyes that could look right down into the bottom of you. And he got us all together in the big auditorium, and with the light on him (we were in the dark), he chanted, “The flibberty jib bom the bippity bop; the flibberty jib bom the bippity bop.” And we joined in and the magic was in us, and he was laughing and all his might was with him and he was shouting, “Yes, yes, yes!”

But there were those among us who were jealous, and so forth, you know, you know what they did. Little by little a little later, they put us back on the narrow path. This is the way things have been our town for as long as anyone cares to remember.

By the way, how are things in your town?

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