Saturday, February 13, 2016

Overture for the 丙申 Year (Gregorian 2016)

A sudden fissuring:
the boulder splits open and issues Fortune,
quivering with excitement for the new year:
unbridled and unbound!

Hear the snap and hum of firecrackers,
staccato notes piercing the night,
crackling like crusty bread that
sheds fat, crisp crumbs on the table.

An overturned vase unleashes
a current of loose pebbles,
smooth and round,
streaming across the tiled floor.

Bass rumblings heave long and low,
strafed by the sharp retort of rifles
blazing on the firing range,
echoing in vast stone canyons.

General bombardment commences:
the celestial power hailed by
earthly subjects jolts the city.
Volley after volley, shattering cadences
usher in the first tuning of the lunar calendar.
Engines thunder, sirens wail, seasons are rewound.
Once more, the moon clock is set into motion.

Hollering and drumming, exploding and shouting,
it is the fanfare for the Year of the Monkey,
who leaps happily from trunk to branch, rooftop to cloud.
His time is now upon us!

Taoist gunslingers trade shots and greetings:
warding off demons, calling in prosperity.
Armed with divine trigrams and spiritual ordnance,
they dispel ill luck as they float on the aural tide.

Black powder, grey smoke, galloping ferghana flames,
all corners awash in noise and joyful exhalations.
The waves of sound carry
calligraphic notes and crimson envelopes,
bearers and recipients both youthful and old,
fresh-faced and wrinkled, wide-eyed and wise,
exchanging bright wishes and long embraces,
re-knotting family ties.

Heaven Above smiles
as percussive cheers resound
in streets painted ruby, rouge, and fiery vermilion.
We'll be burning paper money tomorrow
hailing spirits, recollecting ancestors—
and lighting incense to underwrite
Another Auspicious Year.

Luck and pyrotechnics blaze
in iron cauldrons set alight, 
the air fills with
the sizzle of frying sesame oil,
the blasts of happy cannons,
the lively roar of balletic dragons chasing their own tails,

everywhere to sound benevolence,
everywhere to draw in life,
everywhere to birth this pearlescent new year,
the music of jubilant celebration punctuates the night.

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