Saturday, January 14, 2017

kabuki formalism

beside a gulley (con ghoula)
runs a dark wall topped with overhanging tiles
an alley lane whose paved pitted surface
still wet with rain reveals a dream-like
contour of the island of nippon

here the ronin iemon meets his accuser
the samurai samon the father-in-law of his wife oiwa
who denounces the young man as a 'libertine'
they argue and rebuff but iemon questions him further
who has told you these lies? none of your business!
replies samon thus enraging iemon to draw his sword
and laying out old samon and his retainer too
but leaving intact their lantern bearer
who smiles slyly amused at the events
and suggests a kabuki formalism
unknown as yet

for in a parallel moment across town
naosuke in love with oiwa's sister
the prostitute osode after having been humiliated
at the brothel has also killed shôzaburô his old master
mistaking him in the dark for yomoshichi
osode's husband and primary pimp but he also happens
to leave intact the lantern bearer who really is a libertine
and a senmin and an eta and a hinin and a burakumin
and who also suggests they turn this tragedy
into a fine example of kabuki formalism

now through their dirty libertine
lampbearer co-conspirators
iemon and naosuke unite and conspire
to mislead oiwa and osode into believing
that they will exact revenge on the people
responsible for their father's death
in return osode agrees to marry naosuke

the monkey is a mirror and light as a ghost
special status people are always problem people
but the people who denounce them
are just as deformed and everything is deformed
in kabuki formalism