Poetry Riddle Incantation Pun

A student struggles with a project-topic, trying to put into words how music says something they feel, even when it doesn’t have lyrics.

I love the word round, the word leave, the word still. Round like lips. Round as an approximation of location. Round as in math – ridding oneself of the remainder. We sing in a round. And when we’re done, what remains? What we leave. I love you. I hate you. Leave! Take leave of our senses. A leave of absence. What did one tree say to another? Leave.

A poem should not be a riddle, but the solution to a riddle, not a padlocked door, but the key. There is something I’ve been trying to say for eons, that I’ve not yet been able to say. But, safe-cracker at the spindle, I’m still whispering. Still. Unmoving, yet persistent. A contraption in the woods in which grain alcohol is brewed.

Music is a syringe. It opens the skin wide enough to let blood out, to let drugs pass this semi-permeable membrane. This is why the woman alone on stage with an instrument will always be a heroine.

There’s something we’ve forgotten. I see it in the eyes of people in line at the grocery. A statue on a pedestal outside a museum. Teenagers sitting on the bricks, legs swaying fidgetably in the breeze. As adults we no longer sit like this. But there, as I’m scanning the aisles, a glint.

Syringe is the wrong metaphor. It’s too violent. More like a mouth when it needs oxygen or an epiglottis, blood vessels in arousal. Music as an incantation that calls the not-yet into reality. We can assume the spinning earth made music as it cooled, as we slowed from molten-gas-atmosphere, to lava, to rock, to blues.

I always thought I’d be around people who embraced big thinking, who would persist in their quest for deeper knowledge, who would reach, and would not leave, still. I’m here, still, on this pedestal, down below the mountains, a part of this world and apart of this world, trying to catch what’s in a tune. But there’s the catch.

I was in grad school, in my apartment, in deep meditation, when God (like a stagehand with a broom) asked if I wanted to see behind the curtain, the levers and pulleys and counterbalances. I understood the trade-off. I was not yet open. Had music been playing…

Had music been playing…

Had music been playing?



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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