LORCA'S TRAGIC KNIFE
"What glass splinters are stuck in my tongue!"
Lorca, Blood Wedding
Blood Wedding, Federico Garcia Lorca's 1933 tragedy, better than other examples of the genre, induces an appropriate state of mind for dealing with contemporary global terrorisms. Terrorism is always implacable. Even if it were possible to offer it a Pacific Ocean of blood, its thirst would not be satisfied.
Our nations furiously rave
together then and now.
Our clocks mishandle messiahs.
Lorca's brother Francisco aptly informed us in 1955 that "the final value of Federico's theatre, and the one which most characterizes it, is the fundamental attitude of an author who liked to live, that is to say, to suffer and enjoy life's course as an inevitable universal drama" (Three Tragedies. New York: New Directions, No. 52, 1955). What is the final value of lynching, the fate of Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955?
The cycles of our mother's bone-houses
always attending the birth-burial
of the blood weeded fetus.
Lorca knew something about cycles and human beings which seems to inhabit the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Book of the Dead, Sophocles, Marlowe and Shakespeare, Voltaire, Goethe, Arthur Miller, and Amiri Baraka Perhaps before the 20th century , terrorism was so disguised as audacious , raw, heroic warfare or "Yahweh-, God & Jesus & Holy Ghost- , Allah-blessed" crusades that it could not be x-rayed it for what it is. The Enlightenment misspelled its name, the West being arrogantly ignorant of what the South and the East knew for several thousands of years. After WWI, the Emperor of Cream and the White Witch disrobed and mooned the world.
The transgendered Western fathers of invention
adorned themselves in designer sackcloth,
photographed themselves in the Passolini poses of Petronius-Fellini's Satyricon.
In Lorca's time, disguises were translucent; his exquisite poetic sensibility enabled him to know what Goya and Picasso knew, what later Francis Bacon and Jean-Michel Basquiat discovered in paint and Romare Bearden, Ishmael Reed, and Toni Morrison , in or on paper: tragedy is encoded in each human being. In the womb, the fetus feeds the Satanic spider and learns the death-grip of the tragic knife.
Lorca did not retreat into excuses of fear and pity, false assurances of balance and restoration (catharsis), certainly not in Blood Wedding. He simply recognized the passionate, fractal amorality of life.
Deflecting selective sympathy to a so-called tragic hero or to the collective victims of Nature-sponsored events is a learned (and ultimately cowardly, anti-existential) habit of response to tragic forms; the quest for excuses and explanations is an absurdity of the human imagination. There are no reasons or clarifying theologies. What is at any time, is.
ISIS is Hitler, Pol Pot, and Idi Amin Dada much improved; it is, in our time the enhanced KKK or the sublime Mafia.
Terror and terrorism are manifestations of Cain's blessing Abel with the Kafka motions of Lorca's tragic knife.
They shall be forever beyond destruction.
"The moon sets a knife / abandoned in the air/ which being a leaden threat/ yearns to be blood's pain."
(Blood Wedding, Act 3, Scene 1)
Lorca's tragic knife turns your flesh to stone as your blood renews the Earth.
Jerry W. Ward, Jr.