Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Circular Fable     [blank verse]

The Cirque du Soleil has moved in next door!
                        who would believe it?
"My window overlooks the circus" said Ulrike
                        when I'd asked her location
so I could drop off the biochemical diagram
                        I'd constructed in chemdraw
is this how the cosmos is ushering me away
                        from my present position?
the circus is in residence for a month   and on Monday
                        I plan to submit
to human resources (before exiting stage left)
                        my letter of resignation

this reminds of the evening Bill Clinton paid a visit
                        to our building in the old days
we'd only just arrived in this fancy 12-story
                        a month or two earlier
it must have been summer   next door at the erstwhile
                        convention center (now parking lot)
the Prez (new-elected) was doing a big fundraiser
                        Whitney Houston was singing
while down in our inner courtyard the Saxophone Club
                        was fronted by Kenny G
"I taught him everything he knows" quipped William
                        in innocent comedy

just moments ago I was watching Alam Khan
                        on YouTube expounding
the rudiments of playing the sarod   Alam Khan!
                        the scion of Ali Akbar
I remember this lad as a 5-year-old tyke
                        his mother after all
went to high school together with my sister in Spokane
                        back in the '70s
time's flying in this Circus of the Sun   Lord knows
                        high time I repaired me
to India to study the melodious trapeze
                        for the circus has snared me

meanwhile today comes news Ravi Shankar's
                        in a San Diego hospital
the twentieth century is arriving at its close
                        at last   in this autumn
"those who are alone now will remain alone"
                        quoth Rilke rose-shadowed
I listen and listen to what's probably a thumri
                        a friend it sent by email
I recall neither the singer nor the raag   but the saranghi
                        and the bandish win me over
I'd regale you with the history of everything were I able
                        it's a circular fable


In case the physical lay of the land (alluded to in the first two stanzas) is unclear: the old Washington Convention Center was, a couple years ago, torn down and replaced by a (perhaps temporary) parking lot. On this parking lot (in the middle of downtown DC), the circus has now made its month-long camp. The President (in the anecdote of stanza 2) bopped between the larger gathering (at the Convention Center) and a smaller gathering (in the inner lobby of our office building); the latter was hosted by a group styling themselves the Saxophone Club, comprised of yuppies eager to support Clinton's bid for a second term. This saxophone theme (or schtick) was bolstered by the presence of the light-jazz/new-agey Kenny G. A big video monitor was also installed -- hence we listened to Whitney Houston (next door) while continuing to ply our trade as word processors (with a view of the inner courtyard from the word processing center).

Regarding Pandit Ravi Shankar, an report indicates his condition is stable.


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