Tuning the Beast


Tuning the Beast

I prepare contingencies for all outcomes. No.
I’ve prepared for this: a body. A key. As if

that cloth draped a leg. Not a leg
but the representation of a limb.

Another fragment, brought forth and opened.
Not a limb, an arrow, perhaps, pointing to the sea.

An oar, brought inland and unrecognized
for its purpose, directed or aimless. No, not an oar.

A neck, polished, and a chamber, with strings.
Repetition, fixation. Position. Intent.

I pluck and strum, pick and stroke, maintaining
space, steel above wood, bending notes,

moving sound in time, purposefully, from
this place to that, the left hand, creating,

conversing. The right, reasoning, controlling,
burning its past to the present, allowing,

preventing, rendering beat, consistent
motion, shaping only this moment, this now.



“Tuning the Beast” was drafted during the August 2015 30-30 Challenge, thanks to Sunshine Jansen’s sponsorship. It subsequently appeared in The Blue Nib in September 2016.



15 thoughts on “Tuning the Beast

  1. “…burning its past to the present…” One thing I find scary about playing music is that you can’t take back or correct a bad note. You have to keep moving forward, and the past, while it still may echo, has to be left behind.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This slays me. Even in exercising our freedom to craft our histories with elaborate revisionism, we rather tend to *choose* to emphasize the insufficiencies/imperfections of the past’s every moment, exactly by virtue of our express need (and that need’s associated deliberately exhaustive toiling) to “shape” each moment into a “creation,” a “now,” that it wouldn’t otherwise be. The illusions we burnish into time propelling itself forward renders what otherwise may or may not constitute a reality independent from human intent meaningless, and arguably non-existent. We are so powerful, too powerful, perhaps. Even a decision to abdicate that power and cease our fashionings would amount to the willful act of coloring the moments with our own, selfish apathy.

    So, what is the alternative, then, in the face of such an awesome responsibility for existence as we know it?

    To search for beauty everywhere and everywhen (as opposed to merely hoping it will find us, or not hoping at all) — in a word, to make music! 🎸

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read your first line and then feel ill-prepared for every outcome, dizzy with double-reversals. But it’s OK. The more all the well-prepared outcomes vanish, the more I am brought home to your last line. The beast so defined is a beast well-tuned.

    Liked by 1 person

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