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.

 

 

Reliquary

lantern 


Reliquary

If only the sky could contain you, I would sleep.

Instead I rise and limp through the fog to my shack.

Sip coffee, strum E-minor, arrange words. Listen.

The earth, too, considers you limitless.

Disassembling the chord note by note, I reminisce.

How the indistinct commits its magic.

Indirection, implication. Camouflage. The missing.

Fingers follow the path more readily than the eye.

If the flatted third disappears, what remains?

My body knows its beginning and suspects its end.

The first and the fifth inform our options.

Filling space, consuming time. Rationing pleasure.

I twist my hand, and ignoring the tendon, play the note.

Your last days concluded this vessel. I retain you.

 
music

 

My Poem “Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome” Has Been Published in Crannóg 45

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My poem, “Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome,” has been published in the summer issue of  the Irish journal, Crannóg, available in printed form only. Alas, I was unable to attend the June 30 launch at the Crane Bar in Galway. Maybe next time!

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Scarecrow Listens

sax

Scarecrow Listens

These silences I hear, are they not
music? Interspersed with sunlight and
air flowing through fragrant grasses,
insects ticking in the leaves or burrowing
towards moist darkness, and my friends
cawing from their perches, if I arrange
their presence in sequence, perhaps
around the day’s bones, will you
know my spirit? And when I interweave
these tunes, independent and unrelated,
shaping them into one separate melody,
will you recognize its heart and shiver
to the beat? Ornette Coleman freed
his playing, celebrating the territories
of the unmeasurable, the unnamed. The
real is, no matter what you call it. Take
this leaf and place it atop three others.
What have you? And what am I if not
a gathering of the unwanted, scraps
melded to serve a thought-free purpose,
another’s need. Fleshless, boneless,
breathless, bloodless, I know only
that I am; having no ears, still I listen.

 
“Scarecrow Listens” first appeared with two companion pieces in Eclectica in summer 2016.

 

 

On Listening to Edgar Meyer

 

 

On Listening to Edgar Meyer

Smoke, and bent grass,
the earth rippling underfoot.
A child throwing stones
but never at random.
You wonder that one suggests
laughter, as a second draws tears.

Still, it drags you in.
Like water seeking its level,
a depression that must be fed.
You ride that deep current
never questioning its source,
complete in the moment. Filled.

 

Edgar Meyer’s music removes me from my body, transports me to another plane, one free of politicians and avarice, a place where truth matters. Today has been a good day to listen, to absorb. And hey, that fellow he’s playing with ain’t too shabby…

Ode to Being Placed on Hold

phone

 

Ode to Being Placed on Hold

The music rarely
entertains,
but I find
peace between
the notes,
sometimes,
and embrace
the notion that
I’ve been inserted
in that peculiar
capsule between
speech and the
void, imagining
myself somewhere,
floating, free
of care and
gravity,
beer can
satellites
orbiting my head,
with bites of
pungent cheeses
and baguette
circling in
their wake,
a gift, you see,
like rain in
August or
a warm voice
saying hello.

“Ode to Being Placed on Hold” was written during the Tupelo Press 30-30 marathon in August 2015. Many thanks to Mary “marso” of the blog “marsowords” who sponsored and provided the title. The poem also appeared here in March 2016.

cheese