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Owen Bullock


Music by Narek B. Minasyan

The Dorian mode makes your shoulders weep, the ancient grief sweats over all of us. The Mixolydian has you slip and clamber through a Strathspey though you don’t know what’s going on or why you should. You’re dancing like the happiest mommet in the world but shedding tears and skidding on them as you go – it’s bluegrass by another name: upbeat tempos and miserable tales of death (and, yes, historical links from the Clearances to the Grand Ole Opry); or Old Man River – I keep laughin’ instead of cryin’. The Phrygian mode says, I will mourn my way over the Camino, my soulmate has passed.

Slade     Leonard Cohen     The Crooked Fiddle Band     1920

They shook the walls, but maybe in your lifetime The Sex Pistols did the most delightful damage, who knows? The festival marks an alternative, it has no walls, different styles seeping through canvas, cancelling each other out like submissive sine waves, or driving one another to madness – Hey there’s people in here trying to go to sleep! Hey there’s people out here trying to stay awake! Up all night following the Palfi clown’s hour-long stories, wondering if it’ll ever stop, hoping it doesn’t. Music humming and thundering our unspoken joys and torments, there’s no rival to its power. Only yesterday Loren Kate sang You can go now to the dying – still the singer is the High Priestess; look at Ridjimiraril’s death dance, he knew the score.

The wind     the heartbeat


About the writer:
Owen Bullock’s books include Summer Haiku (Recent Work Press, 2019), Work & Play (Recent Work Press, 2017), and Semi (Puncher & Wattmann, 2017). He has a new chapbook, Impression, forthcoming from Beir Bua Press in 2022. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Canberra.

Image: Music by Narek B. Minasyan (1990-). Oil on canvas. 110 x 180 cm. 2016. By free license.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporationsupporting writers and artists worldwide.

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