Tagged: the Music

The Music I Would Take to Space

I sing in the artist’s
voice – almost always
Rivers Cuomo is close
Billy Corgan hurts
Claudio Sanchez is like
I swallowed a laser
Cedric Bixler even higher
I can do Courtney Love
Shirley Manson – the
garbage version – but only
if my window is closed
I actually don’t know
where my singing voice
is – it’s gotta be in
my stomach, but
I keep my stress there
they fight their way out
– the Gemini twins
pulling at each other’s
loose skin, scrolling open
my throat like birch bark
the bugs are stars, but
they are themselves first
like all performers
I am understudy
I am making what I fake
but I have this window
one little window by which
life scrolls by – the
marquee – how exciting it is to
jump into a sentence before
knowing its ending
it’s got you talking
you can’t not finish
there’s no way nothing’s there

People Near a Fire

A woman sings without breathing mask
in all this smoke
She covers Wagon Wheel
and smoke covers the mountains

A crowd of people gather. They dance
as though someone
has just completed
a successful surgery, or a birth

and small green shrubs have popped up
from the fires before. 2003, 2010. They seem
to run back and forth like children
between challenges

What challenges me? A guy lights his cigarette
and his girlfriend gets on him
He says I need it to be myself
while we’re here!

I’m standing alone for the same reason
You’re off in the market, carrying
my bucket of water. It seems impossible
that I should be able to cry now

smoke like a grey wool pillow, pink
bandana around my face, but I am. Something
about the altitude, my solitude, a mixture
of short air and of people, how

I love you, how I look like a bandit
how I love to see your ideas
nesting in burnt trees like eagles
I see how people continue to dance

long after the woman has lost her voice
how when you look closely, you can see
where new life
has been pulled out of old life

George Bailey Sends Love via Moonbeam

Sometimes convos
about active listening
become ambient listening
become convos
about breaking up
become convos criticizing
the pictures of food
at a Jason’s Deli because
one of us thinks
he/he could do better

Now he/he is on about
how music is too
predictable, noting the
equidistant gaps between
holes in most flutes,
how they aren’t like
roots anymore, the
woodwind instruments

And you know that
he/he is just playing
his mouth. That his/his
understanding of music
and everything else
comes down to the hole
in the instrument. The oboe
goose walks drunkenly
home. The cello plays
the moment past death
for several long minutes
Breath itself makes
breathing noises, you move
the ice in your coke

Jimmy Stewart is at the
Deli. All grey in the corner
he lays down his thoughts
in styrofoam to-go boxes
then leaves them on the table
Moonbeams come from out of
your hair, your fingertips, the soft-
serve machine. Am I talking
too much? I will never forget
the names of the streets
on which we’ve pulled over

All This Sand Was Rock

A father doesn’t change
to his son, not that much, like the ocean
the waves will come in sideways
along his forehead

and the son will sit with him
They will sit with the earth doing its
oldest trick and the son will see the slight tilt
of his father, the sacrifice, the sunburnt back

for him to vault from. This time
they talk about the pier restaurant owners
how they haven’t changed and
still call out orders

like bored jazz musicians, rotating
between instruments. The resorts are all
the same. The city at home is clicking
into more city like safety belts

so they drive out here, the father and son
A little girl down the beach
gets stung by a jellyfish. She catches it
herself in an orange bucket

Little by little
their time will get older
things made more
become smaller

The little girl
brings them the jellyfish
her pretty mother
in tow

She covers her daughter
like a fish inside her tentacles. How old
am I
– the father must think – but
how much more there is of me

Absence Makes the Heart

I would like to forget you
then remember – a moth goes up through the concert
battered by music, a little strip of paper
the confetti falls and it must think that this
is where all the other moths have been! Why
are they all so flattened out? Why are they off
in the other direction, toward the tangled bed of people
toward the crowd down there
with the nectary center of their palms
raised up like flowers? Can’t they see that human hands
are not for landing? Human hands
are for clenching and unclenching around newness
until newness is crushed
until the insides and outsides of a thing
are the same

Missing Her at a Concert, In a Storm

I am here sensing
Pretending to reach for a rain
That shatters before it hits us
This animated heart
Of the drummer makes mist
Before rescinding, filling
My dance steps like graves
Drawing long breaths
Inside me
There are rattled fingers
Gripping the keepsake
You once slid into my coffin
A compass to act as
The corner of my eye, as
The corner of a circle
I will find if it kills me

Dormitory Fire

for a professor of mine who died.

consider the size of night
that passes, the frightened assembly
of students and unwed orientationers here
who lust in the rubbing of Darkness’s
wet finger-webbings against our skin
classes have yet to start, but already
there is a fire here to rival our dormitory’s
upbringing, with tender articles of unread
nightclothes melting and all of us grabbing
large handfuls of someone to spread
on the pavement. can you see us by the fire?
sweating like steam from a pile of community
bath towels, setting then setting again on
faces, flickering, all of us lit in the stairwell
of a stifling coed hallway. Doctor

you could play a child’s guitar
like a thousand-year-old tree
i am only high for a second
before i am coming down


I find I’m none too different from
this picture of the Captain plastered to the wall
of every room I’ve lived in – gun cocked, ready to kill
these beautiful men whose sweat
is kept in a suitcase-drumkit banging on stage. I know
that any one of them could walk up to me at any moment
and pull my gun to their chest, stroke me
on the back of the neck and it’d be over. That’s the real
in this. And when I’m taken off the wall, these memories
of mine that never happened will bunch at the foot
of the bed, leaving only repetitive textures
raised like the crumpled drafts of continents
that never made it. Antarctica over and over, Washington
breached at the hull and bleeding ice
into the Pacific. I’m sorry. There was nothing we could do