In which Peter Pan becomes the Alligator

by on Oct.30, 2011

Lucas de Lima started the conversation when he said more poetry should be like The Lion King (circle of life):
At the &now festival, he became a bird.

“Let’s dangle our bodies, or even better, the bodies of our children, over jutting rocks.
Through shamanic baboons (gay Earth mothers) and melodramatic light, let’s court self-dissolution.
~LDL (Lucas “bad cholesterol” de Lima)

J Gorranson at the &now festival said that art should be the creepy uncle–Scar, who facilitates and manipulates the pageant of howling hyenas. Hyena = hysterical laughter, the laughter of evil, the joker laughter, clown laughter, the laughter of cruelty. It is an affirmative laughter, the other side of grief, the bright scar after the trauma, the cruelty of life. I liked the link between Zurita and the inversion of pageantry (the flipping of traditional structures), wherein the wound that weeps suddenly bursts into laughter.

The procession of pageantry and dangling children over jutting rocks excludes the future. In the moment of ceremony, the baby Simba embodies a potential death (what if he falls!) while symbolizing potential life. Costume-wearers dissolve the self and possess/pirate the bodies of the dead. In light of recent blog posts, I think of Michael Jackson dangling Blanket off a balcony. Baby Blanket wears a veil over his head, a white sheet. Michael, both the villain and the beloved hero of his story, is the shamanic baboon plus lost boy about to teach a child how to fly. Much concern has been expressed about Michael’s right to parenthood. The inhumanity. Who/what kind of membrane-veil is Michael, the pale hand covering Blanket, the infant-named-veil? A carved out jack-o-lantern whose luminescence continues to roast the skinmeat after death. I wonder about the moment of jubilation that inspired this Circle of Life moment, when the shamanic meets baboon meets pop star meets hybrid of a hybrid raises up for the crowd of fans, the animal kingdom, a prince. It makes me laugh.

Laughter is a spasm that interrupts, or erupts, or ruptures social situations… on the other hand it encourages cohesiveness… depending on who is laughing and when. It is intimately connected with power and with madness. Laughter at the wrong moment is disruptive. Or, in appraising the absurdity at hand, it is a convulsion of frozen time, being overcome and exiled by the moment. You are beside yourself with laughter.

I know that when Lucas writes, he is holding a baby over a cliff. This baby is the “I” or “eye” of the poet. He stands beside himself. Time doesn’t go forward because the reptile who swallowed the clock is dead, cut apart, made into a ghost on a nature show. Time eats itself. The entire world pauses below, encircling the cliff to behold the disembodied eye, the royal I. His ecstatic poems shudder in all caps (in the latest incarnations I’ve seen). They laugh through weeping and bleeding and weep through laughing. The convulsion of ecstasy does brink on ridiculousness… a kind of performance happens that is always on the verge of laughter, on the verge of exploding into flight.

Mariko Mori.
The very serious or the dramatic is most vulnerable to parody, even accidental self-parody. When the artist becomes a parody=bad-copy=caricature=intensification of herself. Or when does MJ? Or the lyric poet? (What is melodramatic parody?) The seriousness of the face during climax or agony. The seriousness of surrealism. The seriousness of the clown. Of the soap opera. The tiniest degree of remove will tip you over the edge. Peter Pan is dangerous because he can laugh at the adult Captain Hook, who is very serious in his quest for revenge. They are the same person, beside himself.
4 comments for this entry:
  1. Johannes

    One thing that really irritated me during the coverage of MJ’s death was how often they juxtaposed cute young MJ with artificialized, post-plastic-surgery MJ, as if to say that the tragedy was the artificialization of his face, not that he had died! His crime was tha the had become a bad copy of his youthful talents. I had a similar feeling during the JonBenet Ramsey thing: it seemed the crime was that her parents had made her wear adult garments! This immediately made them guilty! Costume = crime. /Johannes

  2. Monica Mody

    Love this. “When the artist becomes a parody=bad-copy=caricature=intensification of herself.”

    “The very serious or the dramatic is most vulnerable to parody, even accidental self-parody.” Also, let’s not forget: parody as a way into the serious & the dramatic.

    Kyoami: A serpent’s egg is white and pure. A bird’s is speckled and soiled.
    Hidetora: This is a castle… Here’s a wall.
    Kyoami: The bird left the speckled egg for the white.
    Hidetora: Strange…
    Kyoami: The egg cracks; out comes a snake.
    Hidetora: Empty space above the wall. Why?
    Kyoami: The bird is gobbled by the snake.
    Hidetora: Where am I? Who am I?
    Kyoami: Stupid bird!

  3. Feng

    these comments are making me think of L’s post about Fever Ray’s “defaced” acceptance speech (MJ’s plastic face was unacceptable because it was “real” whereas the melted-star-face of Fever Ray was temporary and “fake”) and Beckett’s plays (parody as a way into the serious) and mobius strips.

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