is filling up the space
where my music would like to reside.
The asshole neighbor’s bike
roaring to halt, un-muffled,
just outside my door.
His music loud enough
to override the growl of his macho machine,
filling the neighborhood
so no other notes are allowed.
Music vomiting from teenage cars
vibrating my windows.
daring an objection to freedom of…
What was that again?
First amendment rights?
Prohibiting my liberty of song.
Light Rail rolls
with music leaking from tiny pods
suctioned into abused orifices,
trickling into my limited space,
compressing everyone’s music
into one muted din.
My serenade begins
in the silence of the early morning
after the last of the late-night partiers
zoom home, sliding into their beds,
An aria arises after
the finale of the old night
orchestrates the entrance
of the virgin morn.
There it is.
The plainsong of the sky breathing.
A slight applause
from newly unfurled aspen leaves.
And at last,
the trill of birds.
First, one tiny soloist.
Was he chosen at random
at days end to be the lone sentry
waiting for the cue?
Was her song deemed the loveliest
to inspire a new day?
Or was it the lightest sleeper
Or the one so attuned
that it was just natural
to know when to begin?
But it begins.
then others joining
until ears fill with hymns
too many to distinguish.
A delicate chorus greeting the world with promise.
The opus continues
underscored by the bellowing trains
exhausted from their travels.
A lone siren rushing to aid.
Sprinklers spurting water drops,
An infant’s cry, a car door slam,
heels clicking on the concrete, laughter.
Coyotes yelping, even in the city,
composing the score.
In due time,
the day will release the bullies.
Their music camouflaging their fear,
searing the angry beat of their soul
into their hearts,
creating scars, thick and scratchy
to bind their wounds,
until a unplanned rest
clears a measure for anxious reflection.
All the while,
I will seek my music
Rising from life itself.
The affinity it brings for thought.
And the sustaining jam sessions,
performed without fees
for any audience who will oblige.
This morning’s prompt at the Denver Writing Project followed two readings about how music affected the author’s life. According to our instructor, the author draws from her life, but the pieces are mostly fiction. We were instructed to write how a piece of music changed or affected us.
I have to be honest. I don’t listen to music very often. I don’t know bands or artists or their songs much past the 70’s of my youth. I love Broadway musicals. But again anything much after 1980, I’m lost. I like classical music and the “pretty” music of what Leroy, my husband, once deemed, “earth fart” music. Now it’s called “spa” or “spa” music. Being a kindergarten teacher, I like bouncy music, too.
I’m almost ashamed to admit that I recently found a new love. Choral music. Choral music specifically by John Rutter. It’s not that I’m ashamed about liking choral music, but how this new passion came about. You see I am a closet romantic. I wanted to be a princess when I grew up. Okay, I’ll admit it. I thought I would be the one special American to marry Prince Charles or John Denver. Either way I was sure I would be happy. I still want to take ballroom dancing only to dance in real puffy ballroom gowns that don’t really exist anymore. So, yes, I got up at 2:00 am of a workday with Earl Grey tea and orange scones by my side to watch the royal wedding. What took my breath away wasn’t the dress or the silly hats. It was the choral piece “This Is The Day The Lord Has Made” by Rutter. I now use it every morning for meditation. It brings me peace and a wonderful start to the day.
I like music and revel in it, but I am awful at remembering names and songs and that has put a dent in my music life. It takes a lot of time and energy for me to remember and I have simply chosen not to make it another “issue” in my life. I used to be embarrassed by thinking that I was somewhat less of a person or not a good friend or didn’t care enough because I didn’t remember names like everyone else. But this not-being-able-to-remember-names thing happens to me all the time. So I am learning to accept it. I let people know not to be hurt if I call them three names before I get the right one. This even happens with long time friends. So that is my excuse, far fetched as it may seem, for not being in-tune with the music scene.
I started this poem in response to the noise of my neighborhood. I really shouldn’t complain. We used to live in a very urban neighborhood, next to a Section 8 house and just feet away from one another. The noise was unbearable. From noisy cars, arguments, fireworks all year long that sounded like bombs exploding in my back yard, to every range of loud, angry music one could imagine, we had very little quiet time. Luckily we were able to buy an air conditioner and new windows that allowed us to put somewhat of a barrier between us and the music of the neighborhood.
We’ve moved now to suburbia for several reasons. But it is the “covenants,” something I swore I would never live under, that has brought a happiness to my life. The noise covenants are honored. I love my open window and the morning symphonies that awaken me each day.
So this is where the poem began, but it was my experience with our Slam Poet Jovan Mays and the ride home on the Light Rail that afternoon that cemented it for me. I decided to let this be an angry poem after I sat for 15 minutes on the train listening to several men standing at the back with their music blaring for all to hear. No one approached them to ask them to stop, they were threatening. They were dangerous bullies. They wanted trouble. They wanted to be the center of attention and in control. It worked. For fifteen minutes we listened to a simple drumbeat. Four simple beats at the most followed by the singer drawing out one word “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.” Over and over and over again, until they got off the train.
I decided then and there not to ignore the anger inside of me. I would write it in my poem. A middle-aged, white girl’s attempt at slam poetry.