Day 88 – She

I saw her eyes
but she could not speak-
a miracle
wasting time

they welled with things
I couldn’t understand,
maybe now,
but not back then

I needed her to sing,
needed her to validate
my guitar,
needed her to be
what I was missing
in a song

but she was silent,
holding back

and I knew soon
she would be gone


Year 2: Day 165 – The Truth About Magic

Saw this kid at the shop last night,
must’ve been around eighteen,
played Dylan better than Dylan ever did.
The crowd inside was breathless,
little old ladies, hippie folk singers, and me
scribblin’ like mad to get it under my thumb:
that feelin’ like magic, like the universe stopped,
like this world earned a moment of peace,
and that slipping unease
that afterward comes with the silent question,
“Now what about you?”

What I am at twenty-five
is not as much as I want to be,
stifled by the things I’ve learned are unsafe to do:
you don’t follow the artist outside,
you just relax.
Blow a kiss to the stars in thanks
for a night well spent.

But back at the lab you muse about it,
toss in your restless bed about it,
roll that diamond memory around in your mouth
and believe there are more to be found.

What I am at twenty-five
is a silent fan, a secret collector of spark
inhaled and mixed with my blood and dust
and engine grease and spit
and not yet full enough
but getting close.

At eighteen I would’ve followed him outside,
but tonight I am rooted in the truth about magic,
the secret I’m pretty sure he knows:
we never own it, never get it under our thumbs.
We are secret collectors of spark.
We are glowworms radiating out
the light we let in
that we cannot keep.

And we can’t do more than breathe,
in and back out.

Year 2: Day 42 – The Choir

What more can be said
for the open road
that hasn’t already
been hollered
out the window
at a hundred miles
an hour?

I’m just here to add one voice
to the choir.

How much louder
can a caged bird sing
when finally set free?
How groundbreaking
can it get, just another
cry of thanks,
one more utterance
of freedom
in the wild?

I’m just here to bear witness
that it does still occur,
that some caged birds
and still sing.

Day 238 – Something’s Very Wrong

It’s like headphones left playing on a desk,
some pop star chipmunking from a strange little world,
giving her sexy best to whatever was once important,
and you can’t find the beat,
and you can’t understand a word,
and you just laugh.

Ruler of the universe,
everyone’s so blasé to you.

It’s like something’s very wrong and no one sees it,
no one notices your shoelaces untied, your untouched food,
no one ever asks you about it.
But you listen and you’re getting tired of listening.

Ruler of the universe,
everyone’s so blasé to you.

It’s like suddenly it’s you inside the headphones,
crooning your mournful best about whatever seems important,
until you realize there’s no one listening
and there’s no more reason to sing.

Ruler of the universe,
everything’s so quiet for you.

Day 198 – A Victorious Song

Whatever you do in this world,
you don’t stop singing.

Forget the world you’d drum up for yourself,
in this one you never stop singing-
hymning or bellowing or chorusing or scatting
but you don’t stop.

You can’t-
melodies flow out in tears plinking down,
footsteps ring out down the sidewalk
hearts thump bass lines behind xylophone ribs
while blood rushes throughout in metered time
and life is exhaled through the diaphragm,
lungs, esophagus, lips
so that the act of merely being alive
is a glory, is a song unto itself.

We are born of music and to make it,
we are composed of harmonious thought,
of instrument bones and particular strains
which weave and crescendo through our vibrating minds
and which emanate outward in waves
from which sounds the echoes will continue to move
long after the source has stilled.

You are a musician because you’re alive,
you’re a voice which sings to survive
and the only choice you’ll ever get in the matter
is what song,
always what song.

And whatever it is that you sing will burst
as the orca’s triumphant breaking breath
from one dulcet world unto the next,
will expand to touch all that you’ll ever know
and determine all you ever will

so that a victorious song is your human right
is both your salvation and your reward,
is your reason for being and your call of duty,
that if you must sing you will sing
to whatever end,
to whatever resounding finish you make.