durations of flamenco

by strannikov

yes! folks risk seas as needs arise

walk worlds entire under moons

from between two lands to between two seas.

Zyryab stirred hot earth and found hot roots

his strings tuned to sustain pitched

strumming fury to elicit hot heat.

a five-stringed oud if it were

some of Baghdad's fierce spare heat

carried in Zyryab's oud to Córdoba

to the Umayyads of al-Andalus.


his songs sank their roots in the hot dirt

whose thirst fed the hungry roots

not only across his decades and years:

his memory his children his school

his folks sang his songs till death

their children sang his songs until they died.

through centuries beyond a thousand years

songs in living voices sing—

these songs still live: folks play them

till (singing, playing) they find time to die.


(torrents of rhythms each other chase—

the depths at which these roots swim in hot dirt!

what these roots extract from shimmering depths!

whatever we conjure in earthly grace

lives in these records of solace and grief

voice emerging from long memory's speech.

rigors of discipline met where they lead

shoulders in wild balance sequence of hands

memory's centuries voice found in voice—

furious flurries flying to beyond—

no departures from decorum poise found here.)


his music spills deep inside hot lives

no matter the worlds or seas.

you hear? cataracts of rhythms now roar

now hush to voices of clapping palms

to anvils hammered with heels

to burning blood pouring through all who play

no more proud than any horse

thousands of hot days of songs

songs from fears wonders beauties hungers pain:

thus are lands and souls strummed from age to age.


every clap each heel every chord each note

stolen from death—music tuned to lived life

thieving from death time for perception poise

skill and memory for throats fingers feet

all from hot earth that gave birth to them all

and each—all who play clap sing dance each one

who thrills to hear see feel this music of hot

blood pulsing hot through every moment alive—

thus is life conjured with music: human life

with human music human souls human earth,

hot souls the cherished fruit of the hot earth beneath.