Sitar -- John Olson

Have you ever resisted a sitar? Have you ever embraced a sitar? Played a sitar? Painted a sitar? Lacquered a sitar? Liked a sitar? Sat with a sitar? A sitar of wood? A sitar of teak and two seasoned gourds? A sitar with 20 metal frets and a long skinny neck? 13 sympathetic strings and an empathetic cousin? 82 imaginary rags and a soft reply? One big drone and a marmalade of lenient modulation?

That continuum you call a couch is burly. Dedicated to springs. Cannot one stand and feel circular?

No jam ever emerged from a jar to bond to a past perfect verb. The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn.

Let us therefore idealize the music of the sitar. Transmutation enlarges our respect for ornamentation and spells oblivion with spit.

An eye is a stringy ball of water in the head. The real sound of nickel consists of a comma and a roller skate. The care of chinchilla permits a certain bulge to occur in the benediction of starlings. All this means is that the sitar was never constructed to indulge the acerbity of old men, but rather to assuage the passions with acoustic brocade.

Yesterday we received a letter from Calcutta and it explained the beefcake of time. Time is muscular. Space is conspicuous. The sitar is felicitous. Predictably beneficent. Have a cookie.

What behavior ever sailed into a saga lashed to an auditorium? Behavior is a form of reverie. We imagine what we are doing when we are doing it. We imagine ourselves with a movie star who likes us, and takes us places around Los Angeles, showing us where the other stars live, and which ones play the sitar, and which ones play the drums. And this reverie suits our behavior. Our behavior which is amazing. Amazing because it is behavior. Behavior that is elongated and modular like the sound of the sitar.

Here is something visual, a painting: blue skates across our vision churning and cinematic, at once soothing and troubling, disquieting and cool, and this is blue, the big color of blue, the not-nearly-enough of blue. And this perception meshes with the perception of the music emerging from a sitar, the vagrant architecture of a rag of sound. The wandering architecture of the sitar. The long thin strings of the sitar. The querying ancient strings of the sitar. This sitar. This sitar of discursive curlicue. This sitar of soup. A sitar of soup. Sonority of soup. Sheer soup. Soup of sound. Soup of space. Soup of time. A sitar bending the soup of time in the soup of space. Digits on the strings sliding through a soup of space making a music of diamonds and clouds.

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