Forms of Magic

September 7th, 2002

Its my grandfather’s 75th birthday tonight. We’re sitting around the living room of the family house in the California foothills. My eldest uncle, the therapist and poet couldn’t make it. Yet his voice fills the room. He recorded himself reading his poem for the occasion, and emailed us an MP3, and we burned it to an audio CD. We all knew it was coming, and yet the reality is amazing. Its almost like the voice arrived without the strings of the radio, or phone, or other voice casters. Tears stand on cheeks around the room, as the poem evokes my uncle’s powerful insights, and recounts grandfather’s first trips to the underworld on his road to becoming the inscrutable shaman we know today. When the poem ends, grandfathers clutches the CD close, deeply moved, shook up. None of this technology is new to me, I work with it daily, and yet, I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood it before.

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