Monday, August 31, 2009

esther 5

don't know if you're following along with my creative retelling of the esther story or not, but just in case you are jumping in late, this 10-day look at the book of esther is a kind of celebration of my 40,000 visitors here at agentorangerecords.  you should probably all be showering me with gifts, but since i'm in a good mood, i'm giving you a gift!  just click here and follow the simple instructions for a chance to win one on my handmade collages.  thanks again for stopping by!
esther five has two scenes.  first we find esther risking her life by appearing before the king unbidden.  however, he extends the golden scepter to her, which means he isn't displeased.  she then "touches the end" of his scepter, which results in him offering her whatever she wants, up to half of his kingdom.  hmmm.  perhaps this story isn't as PG as many like to imagine when thinking about the bible.  i'm just sayin.
anyway, esther is delaying asking the question a bit, and offers a banquet for him and haman.  they attend and they eat and drink.  but she still doesn't ask for her favor.  instead, she invites them both to another banquet the next day. 
the second scene occurs later that night as haman is leaving the palace and finds mordecai still refusing to bow to him.  haman gets overly worked up about this, and goes home ranting and raving to his family and friends about it.  they tell him to build a gallows and have mordecai hung on it the next day.  this pleases haman.  you can read chapter five here
what will happen next?  will esther ask the king to save the jews?  will he oblige?  will mordecai be hung?  tune in tomorrow!
esther five
paper collage on vinyl lp, paper collage on album cover
gregory a. milinovich

esther (five)
the greatest risk is not taking one.
i will go to the king.
i will make him want me.
i will make him want to have me.
flattery will get me everywhere.
sweet seduction and strong scepters.
come, king, come.  come to my banquet.
let me honor you.
let us drink together.
bring your royal robes and your right hand man.
wear your best so we can drink the best.
let us laugh and celebrate and know the world is upside up.
we'll have purple and gold and white and wine.
we'll know that all is well.
(WHERE IS GOD IN ALL OF THIS?)
keep your mask on.  the charade, the circus,
the show must go on.
...
still, the jew will not bow to honorable haman.
still haman grows green and gruesome.
the power goes to your head,
the jealousy goes for the jugular.
what to do, what to do, what to do?
if he will not lower himmself, dear haman,
then raise him up high, high, high.
put him on a stick, on a beam, on a gallows.
hang him high, for all to see what befalls the proud.
hang him, haman!

a note here about the book of esther.  God's absence (at least in name) in the book is one of the most fascinating aspects to me.  i focused on that both in the collages (i offer no standard images or symbols for God), and in the poetry, where i borrowed heavily from a character in Elie Wiesel's The Trial of God.  The character is called Mendel, and throughout the drama he asks the question, "where is God in all of this?"  i love that question because it is true for esther and it is true for our lives.  Mendel constantly calls me back into that reality.  other circumstances distract us, but God is ever present, even in a topsy-turvy world, and it is good and right for us to stop and consider that.  even when it seems like God is nowhere to be found, it pays to ask, "and where is God in all of this?"

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