A few hours over a complete revolution around the sun there I sat in my normal place, back of the stage, surrounded by wires and plugs, drums and amps, with the lights flitting about me, floating like drunken multi-colored butterflies with extensive tails rooting back to the light source from which they sprang. Unable to see further than just beyond the edge of the stage, I could just make out what seemed to be a writhing mess of claws and fangs, ice-reflected neon caroming off mirror balls, the slow-motion opiate laughs of evil women so often described in hardboiled books, blue cigarette smoke weaving in and out of the Dark just beyond my line of sight, visible then not. The crowd bulged and gave like a giant crush of wave water held back by some giant invisible force, about to call it quits, sparkling with the eyes of women, some dead as mannequins, others animate as voodoo initiates. We fine-tune and riff on our instruments, battling with the DJs overwrought selections droning into the great mush of din punctuated only by squelches of misinterpreted feedback and the birth of stars too far away to be more than imagined before a thousand years time.
The music begins. I start the pound and thrust, twist and surge. The crowd and I move in opposition, a ship willy-nilly on stormy water. The Music: swelling, dark, punctuated, essing like a snake to and fro all about me, coming into me and warming the blood, shaking off the inevitable pre-DTs, melding the sticks into my hands, making me one with the sound of the wood on tom, snare, cymbal, creating a sense of order in the random darkness. It”s around the 2nd or 3rd song when I begin talking. I’m speaking Japanese, not my native tongue and I can’t hear myself, but I know I’m talking about jail and how it was one year ago tonight that I was taken bodily from my workplace by 20 men with halitosis and cheap fleece, interrogated for 48 hours, arrested and housed for 25 days at a holding facility for Christmas.
I can hear in my mind all those things that rumble back and forth monotonously like so many Sisyphean boulders coming out of my mouth as if of their own volition, their own will, as if they had finally crossed the line between Thought and Action. The clamoring and liquid body just that side of the stage snarls and gnashes, in concert with my own motile mass, its tendril arms and beaklike maws reaching and laughing, pawing, drumming, and still no one listens. The word Freedom emerges over and over again from inside me. This is Freedom and you don’t understand it. This is Freedom and you don’t appreciate it. This is Freedom and you don’t know that without the other, without the darkness, this has no meaning, no light reprieve, so let’s thank Capture and Kidnap, Hostage and Seizure, Binding and Enslavement, Subduction and Subjugation. Yes, let’s thank Internment and Incarceration, for without the Yin of these dark forays into the unknown territories, there would be no such Yang to cut through that unknown darkness.
Mouthing Freedom one last time into the mike, I feel it before I see or hear it: through the unrelenting formation and breakdown of the darkness just before the stage, that invisible hand falls back and the Rush comes. By means of a tumult of charged air, the boom emanating from the serpentine crowd’s collective mouth – quite possibly ambiance-induced – flows through me just as the sound originating in my belly, forced up into my windpipe by my diaphragm and aspirated past tonsils, tongue and teeth into the vacuum of space just before the lips where the real world begins, where words hang timelessly for a moment before meaning insists itself on you, escapes annihilation into the wires and amps, emerging as the only thing fit to say at a time like this: