© 2012 by Bryant O’Hara
For Baba Askia Toure. Here are the stars...
Ras Elegba, Speaker for the Recombined, Mother-and-Father of Starships, yawns and greets the dawn. He watches his fingers and arms grow a little longer and a little thinner as he completes his slide into feminine form for the 50-year Boogie.
Every half-century, the Ghettobirds start their grand dance cycle at the Gaian Ring in Earth’s geosynchronous orbit, known affectionately as The Hoop. They do this for what they call the recycling of souls - and they never stop. For them it is always Carnival.
Now complete, she calls me while I am under Ganymede, asks me to paint her vévé . Helluva time for a booty call, ma'am, I reply. The old joke takes its time to reach her - and she is patient. I resonate at this honor, and it has been a while since Ras was female, so I high-tail it in style on a laser-launched cruise ship.
I catch her preparing for the long dance. The electronic paint spreads out into vévé symbols that are ancient and modern, visual and ...other. These form just a portion of her part of the Great Circuit. The acolytes from across the Genus come to trace their own loving pathways upon her, completing her.
With a kiss she passes on to me the keys to the instruction set and the tradition set of the Genus, and I go away for awhile, leaving behind this derivative, your narrator.
I am a fiction in this dance - all of us are. The vévé show that - the vévé see to that.
The dance opens with old traveling songs, ancient blues, and datasets from probes. They are woven into pirouettes, low-gravity jetés, and good old-fashioned rump-shakin’. Ras is not all here when she sings. None of us are. The songs and the data spooning them shout that and see to that.
There are different names for the ceremony on the Lagrange colonies as opposed to the Hoop. In the colonies, we call it the BounceWiggle; in The Hoop - the Hula, of course.
The songs and the data and the wonder and the spirit call the restless all who feel they have no city. Come with us, say the songs. and build the traveling city. We seek the path to come, say the datasets, and go. We seek the one to which to go.
As the Ghettobirds dance, we writhe in the synaptic bath of sense data.
It is - to baselines - a hurricane toggling the divinity bit..
It is - to the enhanced - a wind driving us all to the leaving place.
It is - to the recombined - working up another sweat in a century's work.
It is all sleight of hand once you cozy up to the universe, let her whisper open secrets into whatever takes in signal.
At the last degree of the Hoop, the Ghettobirds raise their arms, fingers always pointing to the same point in the galactic map.
They unpack titanium bats and swing them to the music of the dance, as if aiming an imaginary ball at that point. They pound the ground in percussive polyrhythms - pulling at a paradigm like a dog in heat on a chain. Every other measure they slam the ends on the ground.
“So *be* it”, the bats say. “Pick a point in the sky and we will go to it.”
We build a starship in the last degree of the hoop. And we dance while we do it, singing as we weave its minds together from uploaded patterns of spectators and dancers. Its body begins in the Lagrange points of Earth and Luna, and make their way to The Hoop.
The dance moves to the ship, a half-built megalopolis, and it spirals out into, and then past, the Lagrange point shepherd moons.
The ship Hohmann-transfers out of the solar system, making many stops along the way.
It is an All-Souls Train, whistling in the radio spectrum, “Now boarding.”
Launch is not the coda of the dance. It is the repeat sign..
Call it what move you,
the recycling of souls,
the cycle of the Genus,
It is the way we roll, here in long now.
I wave goodbye to my self that grows into the next Speaker for the Recombined, the next Mother-and-Father of Starships.
As we launch, Ras Elegba speaks for our templates and for our children left behind:
We remember this little whorl of worlds - and rejoice.
for we are all genus Human,
and in our cosmically,
we are immortal.
Remember, and rejoice.
This piece uses the following clips from FreeSound:
sl50-power-on.aif by sonoplastico (http://www.freesound.org/people/sonoplastico/)
The piece also uses music generated by cellular automata
Percussion section was created in the Advanced Aviary Audio Editor