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Burning Man 2011 photos & 3:15 Experiment Poem: Black Rock City Night

August 31, 2011

August 31, 2011 3am
3:15 Experiment
Black Rock City, Nevada

An art car just
drove by Kidsville
playing the
Squirrel Nut Zippers loudly
and waking me up

The voice was surreal
and the sleep was deep
and it seemed as if
it had to be 3am
at least and yes
there’s a lot you can sleep through:
the two men walking by talking
far off music moving further away
the clanking of one piece of metal
on another
general sorts of traffic noises
a live band that sounds like Tom Waits or Nick Cave
flashing lights
things blowing up

but the air is full of
the unusual & the magnificent
the night sky outside rich with stars, neon, lazers
EL wire frames The Man in the distance glowing yellow
& the sleeping imagination
wants to wake up & play
call out in wonder

go back to sleep I say
halfheartedly as I
inspect the thick dry yellow callous
on my foot

It is Ganesh’s Birthday
and it is time to celebrate

We will be telling
everyone in sight
wearing our silk screened bandanas
with Ganesh on a bike
& giving away stickers of
Burning Man 2011

Happy Birthday Ganesh!
Please remove all obstacles
so we will roll
seamlessly across the playa
from one adventure to
another

This year’s theme at Burning Man is Rites of Passge. In all my years of coming out here, I never participated in one particular ritual or rite–that of being a Black Rock City Lamplighter.

Well, last night we were Lamplighters. It takes a village of 150 volunteers and nightly about 200 volunteers to light Black Rock City with kerosene lanterns at the major intersections. Kidsville’s Black Rock Scouts and so about 30 Kidsvillians headed over about 5pm.

By 7pm we were all robed and ready to go. As the sun slipped over the mountain, a gong was sounded three times and solemnly we walked through the center of camp toward the fire cauldron where a prayer was given. We all went out into the city to give it illumination. We were done by 8pm and all were moved by the experience.

Lighting a city of 50,000 people by hand is an enormous and necessary task. If you ever go to Burning Man, I encourage you to volunteer for this sacred duty.

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