Archive for Eshu

When The Trickster Starts A Pokin’ (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Goof & Glamour, I Heart Tricksters, Lipstick Shamaness, Music & Life & Sundays, Mythos, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2010 by alphabetfiend

For this very special Happy Birthday –to me! — edition of  The Punk Rock Gospel, I’ve chosen a song about the trickster by actual tricksters.

As I walked into the bar
A man came up to me and said:
you know the older you will get
the more perverted you will get

Back before barely anyone had heard of Gogol Bordello, I had that between the shoulder-blades twitch. The itch that tells me to expect something important. I got word — via emails from friends or omens from the universe — that this was a band I needed to see. Me, in particular.

“Why?” I asked, “Why me in particular?’

And they said, Well, y’know, they’re like crazy carnies, they’re anarchist gypsies, they’re circus & costumes & pageantry.

Then the Robot Boy delivered the final seal-the-deal detail: their first single was a song called “When the Trickster Starts a Pokin’ .”

The perfection! 

Is the trickster poking into our life, making a mess, causing creative chaos?

Or is it our own trickster-self, poking out or sticking up or suggesting something inappropriate?

 

“When the trickster starts a pokin'” by the band Gogol Bordello is the PERFECT punk rock gospel choice: thanks to the trickster-laden meaning and Gogol Bordello’s gypsy punk style.

They are noisy and kinetic on stage, many things happen at once. There’s costumes and gorgeous goof-blessed dancing. There are lights and drums and uninhibited giddy fun that is lovely and contagious. This is something more than music, more than performance. There is something otherworldly here. It’s a trickster’s fortune cookie. It’s a gypsy curse.

There’s a shamanistic showmanship to Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz. He moves with the trance-rock spirit of Morrison or Iggy. Hutz performs with that same  limit-pushing boundary-crossing urgency. Exhaustive and unfurling, Hutz has a loose-limbed physicality that challenges the inertia and ennui of the audience. 

It’s almost as if Eugene Hutz is endowed with the same kind of magic-making movement as the Trickster:

Ah ha hey!

When the Trickster starts a-walking
He sends the whole world askew
just when you think that it’s all through
It’s just a birth of something new
And when the Trickster starts a-pokin
who does he need to ask permission
before he goes in third position
I guess he’s just a Bordello kind of guy!…

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I invited trickster energy to unfold in my life, so why am I so surprised to see that the trickster has fucked my shit up?  As tricksters are wont to do. Never invite Coyote to dinner and act all disgusted when he pisses in your crock pot. Don’t jump on Fox’s back unless you can flee quicker than he jumps over the lazy dog. But whatever troubles Trickster causes? New life will grow from those soot-filled fields. Just when you think that it’s all through, it’s just a birth of something new.

As I write this, I am wearing my Gogol Bordello tee. I look almost obscene, being sans bra. Luckily, the tee is so tight and has such a cool screen — “This mustache kills fascism” — that I can justify my bare-breasted look as a radical pro-curves statement. Shall I be a classic self-crasher? Or be a good flasher?!  Tonight, in my too-tight tee, I’m gonna be a good flasher cause I’ve been a classic self crasher way too many times.

So I walked out of a bar
and drove like crazy for half mile
I was thirteen beers drunk
on Houston I jumped in some trunk…
We ventured on New York Throughway
where I heard myself say:
Shall I be classic self crasher?
Or be a good flasher?!

I chose the above version because it is such an unusual performance for them and so few people have seen it. It’s from an in-store performance at Criminal Records in Paris. I have provided another clip at the bottom should you care to see a more typical performance full of the usual noise and chaos.

*****************************

When the Trickster Starts A Pokin’

As I walked into the bar
A man came up to me and said:
you know the older you will get
the more perverted you will get

Hey, I’d like to see you try it
Oh what you gonna do about it?
Optzay, be a bad priest?
Ili primernij ononist?!
Be bad transvestattn? (Da yuta nigh!)
Or be a good zoldatten?! (Ozay Optzay!)
Yeah, give it a try, (By by by by)
But me I’m jasto Bordello kind of guy!..

Mama, of course all hopes are so fragile…
Papa, i can’t believe what it costs?..
Sily, Sily oni menja pokidajut
So i did what I did and its worth what its worth what it’s worth

Ah ha hey!

When the Trickster starts a-walking
he sends the whole world askew.
Just when you think that it’s all through
It’s just a birth of something new!
And when the Trickster starts a-pokin
who does he need to ask permission
before he goes in third position?
I guess he’s justo Bordello kind of guy!…

Mama, of course all hopes are so fragile…
Papa, I can’t believe what it costs?..
Sily oni menja pokidajut
So I did what I did and its worth what its worth what it’s worth

Ah ha hey!

So I walked out of a bar
and drove like crazy for half mile
I was thirteen beers drunk
on Houston I jumped in some trunk…
We ventured on New York Throughway
where myself I heard I say:
Shall i be classic self crasher?
Or be a good flasher?!

Hey, I’d like to see you try it
Oh what you gonna do about it?
Heeeeeeey, be a bad priest?
Ili primernij ononist?!
Da yuta nigh!
Ozay Optzay!
By by by by!
I guess I’m justo Bordello kind of guy!

Bordello kind of guy!
Bordello kind of guy!
Bordello kind of guy!

Click on this if you wanna see this band in motion. Pay attention to all the crazy on-stage antics!

Who is Eshu?

Posted in I Heart Tricksters, Intuition & Gut Intelligence, Mythos, Spirituality & Religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2008 by alphabetfiend
“You who translate yesterday’s words into novel utterances, do not undo me.”– a Yoruba prayer to Eshu

 

 

 He is not Ecru. He was, once, for a while there — for me. But that is another story that Eshu has tricked me into telling. I hate to hafta do it but I will. But first a few facts about Eshu — the trickster God owns the crossroads, where he guides or puzzles travelers.The messenger between the humans and gods, Eshu is behind communication or miscommunication. He is fortune and misfortune, often both at once. You didn’t get what you wanted but you should thank Eshu for saving you from yourself. He is a god of language and words, which is why the story I’m about to tell is so perfectly funny. While ripe with meaning, the next few sentences are not metaphorical which is hard to believe but those in the know will see that I’m being quite literal. 

 

 

 

 

Not too long ago I set up shop right in the middle of a 5-road intersection. I was hawking fairytale frocks and bloomers sewn of the finest story-threads. I met a young fag-ling who needed hag-ling. I had tricksters on the brain and he had the password. Or I thought he did but the tricksters on my brain were playing tricks as usual. Eshu. When he presented me with this word, I gave him a key. Again, lit

 

Also dollars, duds & other dandy-makings, friendship, job, his first ever birthday cake, a place to live. He brought a statue of Eshu. We blew smoke in Eshu’s face so that he might also partake. I was giddy over meeting someone who “shared” my odd interests and thought surely the tricksters’ fingerprints were all over our meeting. They were. I should’ve known! I l once listened in as the RobotBoy regaled our guest with tales of Coney Island and was shocked when, the next day, he announced a coney-themed project which I knew RB was already planning. I pointed that out and he claimed to have had that idea “for forever.”  But I had seen the beauty of him taking it in for the first time. A trickster loves new information too much to pretend he knows everything. He also asked to use a scrap of baroque wallpaper to cover his “spell book” which he carried everywhere with him. One day I went to slip a check into the pages of the book and saw that it was a regular published book, not a blank book filled with his own handwriting as I’d assumed. I had to roll my eyes. How obnoxious do you have to be to carry around a book of spells everywhere you go, cover it in fancy paper, and they’re not even your spells which you’ve honed through trial and error over a bubbling cauldron? Finally we met a girl who quickly took up my role as hag which was a relief. She made fun of the Eshu “hoodoo” saying “When he starts talking about all that, my eyes glaze and I just go somewhere else for a while.” It hit me — this person was the kind of person who would rather know a little about something than a lot and he would prefer to hang out with people who know even less than him, so that when he espouses on his supposed passion they will not challenge him or even add to his knowledge in any shape or form. He would rather blither on while someone blithely rolls their eyes. I pulled away. I continued to give money, food, clothes, physical things that were needed, but I stopped putting any energy out. I kept him on as employee but I was just a boss, nothing more. Then I learned via customers that he’d been stealing. I lost fox-face. A huckster had uttered the name of a trickster and I fell for it. Tricksters are not hucksters and they don’t appreciate the association. I’d been more fool than fox.

When the huckster was gone, I missed Eshu. I hated that he got to take Eshu with him. He was shit talking me to Eshu, no doubt.

So I changed Eshu’s name. I should’ve chosen Simbi or Exu, other forms of Eshu, but bitchily went with something “unknowable” to the huckster. Then he’d be the one “on the outs” with Eshu. I chose “Ecru” which has two of the same letters and similar sound but is a type of fabric as well as a color. As a tailor, the huckster would have the unknowable name right in front of his face. Hee hee. Except the joke was on me. Silly Trix-ster, it always is. I “tricked” myself so thoroughly over two years that when I discussed Eshu in a series of recent comments I called him “Ecru” which is fine for a bitter brain game in the privacy of my own mind but otherwise mortifying. I actually blushed (a very rare seldom seen occurrence, like a UFO) I flopped on my bed like a fish. The RobotBoy howled with laughter. I said, “It’s like instead of Jesus, I said Jeevus.” Which I would do without hesitation, Goof knows!  I had to grin. That kind of embarrassing horror would never happen if Jeevus were my man instead of Eshu. Jeevus wouldn’t delight in my hot red cheeks and wilting IQ. But Eshu? Oh, he loved it. He roared, stomped, pointed. He wiggled his fingers at the other dieties who all lined up to laugh at me. That’s what you get when you change a god’s name so you can keep him to yourself. Even though, as a trickster, Eshu thought it was a clever plan and didn’t mind the alias. Eshu adores me but if given the chance, he’ll laugh mercilessly. I give him endless chances which is why he adores me.

This story is classic Eshu, as discussed on an African mythology site.  

Particularly keen on opportunity, communication and Instant Messaging, Eshu can be a powerful ally. But he’s also a God with a sense of humor and will often throw a spanner in the works to keep life interesting. This could explain why we don’t always get what we want. Be careful — this God of crossroads is also a master of cross-purposes. 

Eshu’s role in communication was examined in a article published in Gnosis, spring 1991,

While he embodies many obvious trickster elements — deceit, humor, lawlessness, sexuality — Eshu-Elegbara is also the god of communication and spiritual language. He is the gatekeeper between the realms of man and gods, the tangled lines of force that make up the cosmic interface. … He’s always traversing that region of babble, and embodies the hope and the peril of a more open channel: hope, because he allows us to speak with the gods and for them to speak with us; and peril, because he tends to play tricks with the information he has, to keep us perpetually aware that he oversees the network of exchange. His nickname is Aflakete, which means “I have tricked you.”

Moving along the seam between two different worldviews, he confuses communication, reveals the ambiguity of knowledge, and plays with perspective.

So Eshu is a master of exchange, or crossed purposes, of crossed speech. This is why his shrines are found both at crossroads and at the market, for he is master of such networks of desire. For example, he uses his magician’s knowledge to make serpents that bite people on the way to the market, and then sells them the cure.

The creator of plots, the player of many instruments, the trickster Legba always risks unleashing a Pandora’s box of powers. But it is only in risking such chaos that novelty is continually reborn, and the community is imagined to interact dynamically, rather than by some rigid structure. The potential for dynamic chaos is the metaphysical heart of the Trickster.

Right now I am particularly interested in Eshu’s part in communication as has to do with computers. The computer was where I made my Eshu faux pas and the “web” was where I met the person who was witness to it, though any and all are — through the computer. If it weren’t for the impulsive speed of computer conversation, I probably would’ve caught my mistake. Maybe. I’m shocked I made it at all so it’s hard to say. The region of babble, the open channel, the network of exchange. Hmm. Well, it’s late and I’m exhausted, the lines are tangled and it’s wonderful. What’s so funny about this is the fellow blogger, witness to my idiocy, whose been meeting Eshu head to head, challenged me to expose more in my blog and I was all “Nah, been there, done that, doing something else for now” and look, here I am, telling the last damn story I’d EVER choose to tell about myself. Second to last. And isn’t that just exactly the way it would play out?

Sweet Jeevus!
 

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