El duende, redux


El duende has settled around my shoulders again, and it won't be shrugged off it seems.

Almost a year ago I tried to explain to a friend what all this "duende" talk is about. A year later no easier to articulate. It's not a something, but the space between somethings. It's the emptiness that makes the non-emptiness so cherished.

I wrote then how it was something I no longer sought out in tango. In the beginning of my tango journey, even before I was dancing, the duende in the music felt like some kind of romantic lure. It doesn't feel that way anymore.

I don't really try to avoid it, because that's just not how it works. It comes when it comes,
in the music,
in a dance,
in a breath.

When I try to ignore it, it just loiters around until I notice it - or can't help noticing it. It's in the places, in slivers of space, where dark meets light. In contrasts and sharp edges.

In that place you know suddenly quite clearly,
that both exist for want of the other.

The duende is the sad beauty of something we know we will lose. So in that sense, duende is the beauty of everything.

6 comments:

Tom said...

sneaky little devil.....

'smoke-like' almost....

David Jordan said...

This was a very evocative post, which unfortunately seemed to explain almost nothing of what duende actually was. So I looked it up. And then I realized that the post itself was duende.

Mari said...

@Tom - sneaky is right.
@David - El Duende is one of those things that the harder you try to describe it, the further from reality you tend to get. Another dancer, and musician, told me that "the duende is in everything that ends. And everything ends."

Lorca wrote of duende:
“.... it’s in the veins; .... it’s of the most ancient culture of immediate creation.....’

“ Seeking the duende, there is neither map nor discipline. we only know it burns the blood like powdered glass, that it exhausts, rejects all sweet geometry... that it shatters style...”

“... the duende delights in struggling freely with the creator on the edge of the pit.... the duende wounds, and in trying to heal the wound that never heals, lies the strangeness, the inventiveness of a man’s work”

Which, to a far more eloquent degree than my post, says everything and yet nothing.

Dieudonne said...

El Duende, the state of being when there is nothing left to look for (we look, try, think and do ad nauseam, and when we realize that there was never anything to look for, IT graces us). We can't find it when we are busy looking for it, just like we miss who we are when we go looking outside of ourselves. El Duende is inherent to our human nature, and when we let go and surrender, IT takes over, a jealous lover who will not share and is always close by, waiting for us to be "real" (our true selves), and then, and only then will it offer itself.

Mari Johnson said...

Dieudonne - yes, that's it. Like it says in the Zero Hour Liner Notes - This music always had us in mind. . .

Anonymous said...

I thought you meant dandruff in Spanish ... lol ... it was landing on your shoulders ... it seemd logical ; )