THE DEER DANCE
Dreamed 1986/4/10 by Chris Wayan
I stand beneath the Varsity Theater's marquee, undecided. It's a very old movie palace, with a café in its courtyard, and through the arch and the trellised vines, I hear music. Soft drums and rattles. Strange, most evenings it's amplified jazz. I feel my way through the sinuous entrance bower, to the edge of the patio. It's a Deer ceremony! You'd think the newest genetically engineered species of people haven't had time to invent a culture yet, but... here they are.
Blue satin sheets frame a wood altar-stage. Lit from below, they look like windows into a predawn infinite sky. The stage is dark before the blue. Hooves on wooden drums, and a washboard rustle of rubbed palm-fronds. Soft ring of an antler harp, strings strung every which way, like flightpaths in the branches of time's tree. Or neurons in a gengineered brain.
Flashlight beams crack on and sweep the courtyard in hungry circles, fast as firelight. Two figures leap from the dark. A wild story-dance begins in white tableaux, all stroboscopic hints. The gray-white stag and the red doe build a pas-de-deux of scary intensity. Each move has the abandon of orgasm, panic, death-spasm. I'm in a cold sweat.
Try to calm down, I tell myself. Watch their technique!
What body separation! Maybe that's their magic. Each muscle has a life of its own. A world-class ballerina might match them--these beginners improvising a tradition. Instinct! Wild deer had to have this grace--living on perpetual alert, blending into the windsway of leaves and shadows by moving only what must be moved, doing only what must be done. Just the opposite of Humans, who move their bodies in one piece, saying I Am, stamping their prints on the eye, memory, world.
The Deer People deserve to be; we need them. They need to learn to teach, and we need to learn to learn.
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