Some nights the music flows
the trombone swings on its chariot,
skimming the stars then trailing through the sea.
Some days the bird nest is in a rocket engine
and the music practically writes itself
as the spheres of sky and earth
mingle in the mind and air.
Some afternoons the fans slice the air into a slow sludge,
but there is still a music in the faded color scheme
and the slow dance of the fan.
Some nights the music falls;
it disappears in a fumbling silence,
or so it seems till I remember how to hum.
Some nights the music flows
I knew a man who could not hear
The music of the spheres
He could not hear the march of Mars
Or the trill of Lunar strings.
I knew a girl who laughed at stars
She preferred to talk of cars
See they both are powered by gasoline
But only one could fuel her dreams.
I do not blame the tone deaf
For failing to dream in clefs
If we want to dream of heaven
Then we cannot teach ourselves
This is the cadence can you feel the pulse?
Are you moving to the drumbeat as it drives on a war?
This is the scansion have you marked it out yet?
Can you foresee the movements as the strategos plans?
But then the tenor shifts to port
The boatswain vents his wrath
And hapless sailors strain at ropes
Their rhythm strains their skin.
When drumbeats shift with every breeze
And soldiers march to syncopation,
The trusting stare at sneering faces
while priests partake in dissipation.
It’s well and good to categorize
To map the change and theorize
To test the wind, and guess its source –
The philosopher never compromised.
Theoreticians cannot be pure.
To be gnostic is to lie.
We are the boatswain.
The rain whips our eyes.
How do you keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming, shouting, messing up the verse,
While the wind howls and the ship bears directly for the rocks?
How do you rally the orchestra after the audience screams?
If you answer, “You don’t.”
Then the chaos wins.
There is no music.
You are the noise.
The calamitous wings of the emerald bird
Beat the air like a crinkled sheet snapped back
But not quite cracked in two.
The air breathes on borrowed time
Embattled now, not yet resigned
To the dullness of no color.
Imminent now is a tomorrow
When bright green will not fly on bright blue
Or if it does we will not look to see it
For it is not that the sky is falling
But that the sky is charged to the point of snapping
And there are no musicians to acknowledge the beat.
Look up before the bird passes.
Every electric beat unacknowledged
Only proves we can no longer conduct.
It was late at night one Saturday morn
When a deaf young man cracked the creaky door
Back from the music that he once had heard
Trudging in brightly on his danced out shoes
That is what cacophony can create
A muddled, dull, laugh that nobody hears.
From the crowd passing on the street,
The well of noise which struck the spring
Roars forth like its northern cousin,
The great Niagara, shouting down
The ones who come beneath its spray.
No soul stands out, though some dress up.
What is the droplet to the roar?
All pass into the waters flow
Save one old man in rags
Whose music passes through the crowd
And looks into your eyes.
Inspired by The Old Musician by Edouard Manet
Do the two step round the table,
The floorboards creak to the easy beat.
They know the steps from the many ages,
And sing the notes with wooden tongues
Aged to the rich tenor of two violas
Which play in this drafty kitchen
A song too sacred for the opera hall.
The song echoing in the cheap bar hasn’t changed.
It has the same beat that sent our grandfathers to war
and brought their sons back.
The voice may not be the same,
but it’s close enough to make you guess.
Only the instrumentation is truly different,
betraying the passing years,
but even then the melody remains the same,
hitting the same notes for a different generation,
as time always has in all the great mead halls of the world.
The pale mistress of the blackened sky
presides in beauty on her silent throne.
She views the dance from her place on high
and in the stillness makes the dance her own.
Below her feet the dance begins with clouds,
which flow like soldiers tearing through a wall
while she, a constant rock stands fast and proud
against the blowing wind which drives us all
towards the future rise of the reigning sun,
who will lead the summer dance with laughter.
But now this dance is far from being done,
the current queen presides looking after
the heavenly court in their stately dance
while she floats silently above the throng.
She is the constant in the dark expanse,
yet dances in her stillness to the song.
The evening sky resounds with grace.
The echoing fullness of a closing day,
which on inspection was the same
amalgamation of dissonant chords
and harsh wasting words as always.
Yet the song birds still chant up their praises
which raise until they resonate
sending the shivers of their song in colors
humming at the frequency of praise,
despite anything I try to say to the contrary.