Grandmother grew tulips, and I learned They were for outside admiring when I picked A bouquet of them for her. When the days turned Warmer, these red and yellow bells in strict Rows played music inside my stomach. They looked Like gelato on a stem, if I had known What that was–like God had gleefully cooked A pan of custard for a rainbow ice cream cone Display. I still think they should be edible. Have you ever felt that? Something so fully Joy and carbonation that the only credible Action was just to eat it? Just me? “Look what I brung, Grandmother!” “Brought brought brought!” It wasn’t just grammar, but springtime and pound cake you taught. 🌷
You were kind to me when I was a frightened Freshman gripping my backpack straps trying To disappear into lockers. Your smile lightened My textbook adolescent load. Lying Ahead, you showed me, were possibilities such As studying Mozart in places where other misfit Toys could gather and make beauty–much Aloneness relieved witnessing your musical grit. Today, the Prime driver said, “Dan?”, Removed his mask, and there was that smile That made this scared kid feel like the man. The symphony gig is on hold for a while. In the meantime, you are being a badass Making some bucks until you’re back with the brass.
Copenhagen made me want to buy A pack of cigarettes, hold a cup Of coffee and walk past palaces, flowers, and high- Spired churches in a moody jacket sewn up By smoke and caffeine vapor. I was a poor Man’s Kierkegaard, existential In museums and botanical gardens. Despite the lure Of Duolingo’s proficiency promises, my credential In Danish left me with the ability to say “Sorry,” “thank you,” and “turtle.” Politely asking My Nordic hosts, “Speak you English?” Would play Out with perfunctory lingual multitasking. It was beautiful, and people smiled when I tried. And I reviewed the sensation of feeling outside.
I’m taking a songwriting class on the internet — Ryan Tedder from One Republic teaches You how to write and produce hits–no sweat, Except there’re all these software knobs, and each is More confounding than the other. Pro Tools, It’s called, and the tools are clearly meant for pros. Today I got my mic to follow the rules And talk to the recording intelligence. God knows When I will establish effective communication With my keyboard. Typing “connecting midi Piano mixer clueless aggravation” Into google hasn’t helped. Pity. This self-okay I feel being a beginner– It’s new and nice, like I’m a fumbling winner.
We wonder why White American men Are split-off cardboard forts with our tin can Transistor strings severed. Then again, How could it be otherwise? “Be a man.” What images does that command drag out? Eyes like a mirror lake reflecting back The image of one coming for a drink? Ears like a wool blanket you can unpack From the kitbag–scratchy but cozier than you’d think? Those aren’t the pictures that emerge for me. The man we mean is one who dams the lake And stuffs the fleece down on the feel debris Collected for years. March, and don’t bellyache. No wonder we can’t hear you when you cry. Tears might move that water. We’d drown. We’d die.
When I stood on the escalator descending To the Bakerloo Line platform, I studied (As only someone brought up in the the befriending- Required rural South could) the un-buddied Faces ascending past posters of American B-list Celebrities starring in the West End production Of Chicago. My interest in a tight fist on a briefcase or a brow furrow tripped a deduction In my brain about where each person grew Up or where they were going, whether they We’re happy or not– The briefcase gripper I knew Needed to quit his job and write a play. Assigning a story to my fellow Undergrounder Quelled the loneliness of this moving stairs expounder.
Thank you for breathing, for feet that feel the floor, For the register I stub my toe on that sends Warm air into the kitchen this morning. More Than that, thank you for a brain that blends Appreciation for a pink cotton t-shirt With a grateful hum for the heat and taste in my old Coffee mug. My cold toes assert Their gratitude for thick socks rolled Up and available in my bedroom drawer, And the cluttered filing cabinet in my noggin Reminds me my unachievable chore List means job, and Apple remembers my login. Above all, let me say thank you with eyes Open to gifts I forgot to recognize.
You begin rehearsing when you’re very young, Testing tactics, gesture, and use of voice To guage what actions elicit embrace. You clung To the director’s words and based every choice On a raised eyebrow or the cessation of speech– Which way of performing will win the boss’s Favor again? If nothing else, you teach Yourself how to ignore your secret losses While looking competent but exhausted. When They see how hard you’re working, they’ll take note, Right? They’ll smatter you with claps. Then You’ll be significant, reciting lines by rote. Soon, you won’t even need a script anymore. You’re memorized, tight-costumed, half lit. Encore.
James Taylor wrote a song that said “Time isn’t really real,” and I’ve heard That in other places as well. My head Always balked at this notion of blurred Eternity invading the measured spread of hours And days brilliant brains assigned to Earth’s Revolution. But I feel this theory’s powers Whirring past at globe-spin speed, births And deaths of spirit-knit carbon rushing By me as if chest-deep in a river Alive and autonomous. Attempts to dam it are crushing. So I swim and see where the current will deliver. The lyric cites Einstein–he was mystified, too. I’ll renounce understanding–I’ll float and cherish the view.
At 6:15 a.m. the birds begin Their heavenly communication. Sequences Of eighth note triplets call out questions in The morning cold, and half note falling frequencies Answer. Their exchanges evaporate early Brain fog and buoy up my middle guts Like a helium balloon. Leftover swirly Dream thoughts clear, and my chatterbrain shuts Its beak for these brief measures. Unable to rest, It queries in its nerdiest voice, “What kind Of bird IS that?” Like a museum guest Fixated on the label, canvas-blind. They don’t sow, reap or gather, these singers. Their unworried tunes are sunrise joybringers.