On the last night of the world, Kino will still be practicing her gunplay.
I wonder if the narrative we’re seeing is a memoir written by either Kino herself, or by Hermes. I don’t see them bringing any writing implements, so perhaps they have some fantasy way of documenting their adventures. If not… well, there’s a layer of beauty exactly, precisely at this point.
Kino as a traveler immerses herself in a journey of quantity. She limits her stops to three days per destination. For one she feels that staying any longer risks her having a desire to settle down, but for the purposes of a traveler three days is enough to learn the most important things about a locality if she fully applies herself to the task.
“The world is not beautiful, therefore it is so.”
I take this as a thought expressed in the mind of Kino herself. This implies a kind of thinking that values contrasts. The binary of two opposites gives meaning to each other. Beauty exists because ugliness does too. They define each other. In the previous episodes I have seen strangeness and darkness, but to contrast with it are Kino’s person, her actions, in the context of her surroundings and circumstances.
It is indeed beautiful in a melancholic way, which is, if I think about it, very much the truth of our existence.
But this isn’t the poetry I speak of, if anything it is only the stuff that gives Kino her words. She would claim to be one herself.
A whale’s sigh
The dreaming shooting star
It felt like that’s what they were singing.
While everything out there is changing,
the sound of these insects chirping echoes up to the sky.
That’s what I’m listening to right now.
That’s the only thing that’s for certain.
“What’s wrong, Kino?” asks the motorcycle. “Sometimes, travelers turn into poets, Hermes.”
If Kino never documented anything, and never published this… is there truth to her claim? If it is indeed so, then I am a poet too, though I haven’t been published for almost a decade. It says something about the requirement to have a society to validate our words so as to give us being.
But until that time when we all agree that Kino (or Michael Rubio) is a poet, what are they? The word amateur is inadequate. I know quite a few poets, but their profession – the work that enables their lifestyle and subsistence is teaching, being professors. What I am only certain of, is that Kino (and myself) would at a time like this tell the world (or a friend, or an invisible imaginary audience) what she perceives and how she feels.
In the choice of words and the focused gaze, Kino is being a poet. It is a matter of being, and the world’s concern is a matter of becoming. Will she ever become a poet? I can’t tell, and she may never do so. It is not a beautiful world, therefore it is beautiful.
And now, and for most of her days, Kino is a traveler.
She visits a land where the religious experts predict that the world will end on the morrow. Kino takes advantage of this by shopping from keepers who saw how charging for goods is meaningless in the face of the apocalypse. The sun rises, the world doesn’t end, and the religious leaders merely re-set the countdown 30 years hence.
Similar to how the people in the city where the tower fell, those waiting for the end of the world didn’t know what to do with themselves without that truth that the world is ending soon. The resetting of the apocalypse countdown seemed exactly what they needed to pursue their lives dedicated to mourning.
If I may be so bold as to imagine Kino’s poetic thought, she’d say something like “The end of things give more meaning to what things that are, and how things should be.”
She then travels to a land where she was treated like the most important visitor possible, and was the guest of honor for a cat-ear’s festival. When she declined to do the dance for personal reasons, the air from the festivities deflated.
She then learns that the land, after the people overthrew the king, disposed of all the traditions and sought forth to manufacture something from scratch. The reactions of the visitors determine the success, and every attempt has been a failure in the eyes of the citizens.
The descendant of the banished King is a scholar of the traditions of the land, and correctly describes the authentic tradition of the land is that of inventing inauthentic traditions.
Kino should say “Capturing people’s hearts with absolute fiction, is a fiction of fictitious people/ But they have captured my imagination anyway/”
The next land, Kino is introduced to it via a poem, and she contemplates it while on a gondola:
Inside the closed in walls of the July that has come and gone,
the words were broken down in a past without tears…
The gondolier explains that it is the custom of this land to pass down its sadness onto the succeeding generations.
The source is the legend of the happiest poet in the world, who was forced by the King to write a sorrowful poem. Incapable of writing something he didn’t know, his wife kills herself. The poet then recites an incredibly sorrowful poem that drives the kind mad and dead, and he doesn’t stop reciting it until he dies ten years after.
After which, his 14-year old daughter recites the poem for the next ten years, until the land starts choosing a 14-year old girl to recite the poem to keep the tradition. Kino learns that a recorded version of this poem is wholly the Book of Prophecy that the other city used to predict the end of the world.
Kino should say, “Foolish man, who doesn’t see the sorrow in his own impotence./ Foolishness and poetry both have stardust in their bones.”
It doesn’t end here, Kino no Tabi goes for some irony overkill at the end of this episode. For this I’ll leave Kino to ask the stars.