WE’RE ALL FOR THE UNDERGROUND heads to De Parade next week. Our Parade version features dancer/actor/multi-talent Pedro Ines stepping in for Mark Morse, and a specially shortened format, allowing you more time for sipping rosé under the stars.
Catch us in Utrecht: July 31st thru Aug 3rd; or in Amsterdam: August 12th thru 16th. We’re in a lovely round tent call DeLuxe, where we will be playing dead 3x daily.
More information: http://www.deparade.nl/
all images: Raymond van Mil
As a child, my first conception of death was directly related to the demise of our numerous ill-fated house pets and the assorted wild animals that wandered through our yard, with guilty parties present on both sides. Learning about death in this cat/mouse/dog/bird/snake/toad/spontaneously-combusting-gerbil manner may be a fairly common childhood scenario, or the outcome of growing up in the semi-wilderness of the Smoky Mountains, or a dead giveaway of a relatively privileged American youth. I consider myself fortunate to count the discovery of an exploded gerbil in situ as the bloodiest confrontation of my life before age 6. Be that as it may, it certainly had its consequences for my tiny Hilly brain.
Ours was a house without television, on the side of a mountain, in a neighborhood without many children. This left me to invent my own diversions, one of which was Worm School. Worm School, as a pastime, emerged after a particularly busy period of burying deceased critters in shoe boxes behind our house. I have my mother to thank for these funereal rites. As far as I know, when it came to ushering pets into the hereafter, she never subscribed to the improvised-burial-at-sea, toilet-flushing school of undertaking.
In Worm School, I would capture earth worms and place them in a pickle jar. During their incarceration, I would attempt to teach them to read by attaching note paper to the jar and lecturing them on the English alphabet. I can remember this pursuit being dimly connected to the idea of eventually being underground, for eternity, with worms, and a genuine desire for communication with my only company.
For this reason, I might like to be buried in the mountains where I grew up. In my imagination, there live a highly intelligent race of eloquent earth worms, deft conversationalists, who might alleviate my lasting anxiety about this morbid playground rhyme, which I learned around the same time:
Don’t ever laugh as the hearse goes by
For you may be the next to die
They’ll wrap you in a big white sheet
From your head down to your feet
They’ll put you in a big black box
And cover you with dirt and rocks
All goes well for about a week
Until your coffin begins to leak
The worms crawl in
The worms crawl out
The worms play pinochle in your snout
They eat your eyes
They eat your nose
They eat the jelly between your toes
So you better not laugh when the hearse goes by
Or you will be the next to die
Giving Myself Up
by Mark Strand
I give up my eyes which are glass eggs.
I give up my tongue.
I give up my mouth which is the contstant dream of my tongue.
I give up my throat which is the sleeve of my voice.
I give up my heart which is a burning apple.
I give up my lungs which are trees that have never seen the moon.
I give up my smell which is that of a stone traveling through rain.
I give up my hands which are ten wishes.
I give up my arms which have wanted to leave me anyway.
I give up my legs which are lovers only at night.
I give up my buttocks which are the moons of childhood.
I give up my penis which whispers encouragement to my thighs.
I give up my clothes which are walls that blow in the wind
and I give up the ghost that lives in them.
I give up. I give up.
And you will have none of it because already I am beginning
again without anything.