March 09, 2007

Ash's comment about our imitation of his poem & the Talking Heads in general

(see previous post with our performance of his poem HERE)

Teeth caught the rhythm but not really the letters or the phonemes. He only touched the words through rhythm. He plays the real game, because the whole Arabic poetry has been written in this rhythm that is a meter, a timeline that is not related to the syntax. Although the modern poets use western rhythms now, only a few like me still write in the old one. So, one can say that he caught the rhythm in my voice, considering it as music, as a row of musical units or pieces. Altogether my poetry becomes abstract, so that I only understand 50 percents of the word-centred meaning.
Tongue concentrated more on the letters. They are more precise. His pronunciation is better. He caught the units of the words, the contours of which become here sharper, as if he knew them. Tongue really imitated my voice. I understand more than 70 percents, except regarding some letters that are particularly difficult to pronounce and that he should work on, if he wanted to learn the language. The combinations of letters reach very deeply into the language, they are also hard to be seized. But sometimes Tongue did touch them and in that case his voice relied on the very background of this text that is the Koran and its particular combinations and formulas. They are rare, beautiful and I was keen on imitating it, especially in that sentence which says, “when the monster sweeps the suns from the café of my blood” [tahshufushumuseh].

First to my surprise I found it clever, but now I see how sensitive this idea can be, because the emotion I’ve put into this poetry has moved into the voice of someone who ignores my mother tongue. It’s amazing how the spoken language keeps the feeling, even transferred through their blind performance. Although they can’t speak Arabic some word stay understandable and moreover the emotion. I don’t know how they managed to transmit my expression, not only my words but also my voice with both my particular way to pronounce phonemes and my rhythm. Of course something remains lost, which is a certain singular belonging to a culture, as a native speaker. So it’s neither the same profound sadness nor the same shallow I spoke out, but what I can hear here is my own expression that has been abstracted.


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