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the sound

March 24, 2016

we sink through the flying, falling days,
floating under fans
and waiting for the night

then the thick warm evening falls,
at the speed of light, into the density of tar
and badminton becomes invisible
and the Madison blasts and steps
and blasts and steps
and the shimmering brightness of the day
extrudes itself into the shimmering lights of the night
and the clunkety clunk thump screech thwang
of bump-in and check-sound
and the slurp of beer to mask the wait for nyam bai

we gather in permeable packs,
in front of chosen stages,
flying our colours and
checking in on our screens,
boasting of our location

and is that a hush that comes,
just before the sound?
is that a trembling of excitement?
as the stagefloor
begins to vibrate in anticipation of the roar,
unlocking the buried thunder of the
many ancient nights of before and since
the beats first pounded out the call

guitars crawl from gutters and attics
and hum and purr and spit
over the rolling tsunamic force of their
four stringed cousins
while the relentless drums
pour forth their confession of
throbbing heart and skittering pulse

from the ceiling
drops the singer
arms and throat unfurled and rampant
to croak and howl and whoop
as if wounded afresh
by all wounds ever suffered
by all joys gifted and stolen
by all angers and curses every summoned
by all love ever found and lost

the horns of heaven spring forth,
the harps and their angels
wrap around the core of the sound
and squeeze it tight until it squawks

bodies rush to caress the sound,
and we ruin our lives,
sabotage our careers and relationships
in physical worship
of the lines and the fills
and the riffs and wrinkles
and the smash and the blam

and the band is chanting:
first we make the girls dance
and that makes the boys dance
first we make the girls dance
and that makes the boys dance
first we make the girls dance
and that makes the boys dance

verse and chorus
blend together
in sweat
muscle stretches
strings tear apart
in agony
cues are missed,
lyrics scrambled,
the band stays on track
like a runaway train
the emergency brake is thrown overboard
and they plunge into uncharted territory
where different languages are spoken
and the wine is squeezed from an unknown fruit

cautiously, the relentless seeks resolution,
and it comes
in a windmilling, brainshredding blurr,
and all at once,
the magick of the sound
disappears like the communal conjuring it is,
and we blame numbers for our perspiration

long is the night
deep is the sound
low is the light
strong is the sound

[first published at lengpleng.com]

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