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Posts Tagged ‘music’


 
 
Tonight at dinner my daughter and husband
bicker over who will get my plus one ticket
to the Grammys next year. We plan
what we’ll wear to walk the red carpet—
blue for my daughter, no tie for my husband.
I’ll borrow a friend’s green dress and tall boots.
So much to plan already. Where will stay?
Hair down? Rent a car? I wouldn’t want
to meet the moment ill-equipped—
not like this moment in which I am fully prepared
to make an entrance in my slouchy gray sweater
and low, messy bun, prepared to show up
with my short nails and bare face and oud perfume.
I’m so ready for this moment at the dinner table
with its red placemats, homemade mac and cheese,
jazz in the air and quirky conversation.
I don’t even have an album, yet,
and already I know I’m a winner.

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           for Donavan Dailey
 
 
The heart perhaps thought it was open
until a moment of silence is followed by fingers
flying across nylon strings and then, with no warning,
the heart breaks open as a high alpine meadow in June,
splays wide as a snow-deep cirque midwinter,
is exposed as a woman sitting in the first row
with tears spilling down her cheeks.
The heart does not question why,
it simply opens, wider, lets the secret tango
move through its channels as only
a secret tango can do—dancing the heart
ever closer to the moment until, beating wild,
the heart forgets it could ever be anything
but spontaneous as jazz, honest as the man
being played by his guitar, expansive
as the silence that shimmers in the air
just after the last note rings.

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Unsolid




After I’ve spent a whole day being stone,
my daughter plays our song on the stereo
and my body is whirlwind, a column of air
spinning round and round, gaining momentum,
and what once was sandstone in me is now dervish,
is dust devil, is momentary phenomenon,
and I barely recall what it’s like to be dense
as I sing and my arms rise and twirl
and I swirl through the room around my girl
thrilling in being this woman on this night,
this spinning delight, this whirling release,
short lived, perhaps, but oh for this twinkling,
I’m windborne, I’m dancing across the horizon
and the wind says, remember, remember this.

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Soundtrack


 
 
Sometimes another person knows our heart
so well they offer us a song that becomes,
at least for a moment, our anthem.
In that moment, listening to lyric and melody,
the entire body re-attunes to life,
each cell turning not only toward the music
but also toward the giver,
and we are led deeper into that strange
and beautiful grotto of our heart
with its mosses and echoes,
a place at once strange and familiar,
and the song becomes a shining remover
of darkness, its light bouncing on our inner walls
until we relearn who we are—
the light of a million suns.

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This morning I wake and my body
is a concert hall still echoing
the beauty of the night before—
like the morning after the symphony
when the theater walls and
the red velvet curtains still remember
the swell, the strings, the silence
before the applause. Oh,
how I love my body on these mornings.
I linger in the sheets, my eyes closed,
my arms flung over my head,
my belly soft as I open myself to memory.
It’s fleeting, it’s flirty, it’s there,
then it’s not. What was symphonic
is now a mere echo of what was—
as if everyone left, but the drummer
is still there alone on stage,
beating out a tempo, complex,
but true. Hello heart. Hello heart.
Was it really just a dream?
The melody escapes me,
but I swear I still hear the rhythm.

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Contentment



What were you doing when you last felt content?
            —Ada Limón


And there, beneath the white tent,
beneath the blue sky, beneath the stars
I could not see, while spinning somewhere
inside a spiral galaxy, I closed my eyes
and let the sound of flute and piano find me,
an Irish song meant to be played with a wee lilt,
though the tune itself knew something of loss,
and I felt my lungs swell and my heart expand
felt my spine straighten and my soles ground,
and I floated inside the music, stunned and surprised
by the vibrant inheritance of being alive. I hummed
with full cellular resonance and then, I was crying—
a warm spilling of tears—for what?
for beauty? for loss? for living with both in one breath?
What was it the tears meant? Oh friends,
as I felt it all with no attempt to push it away,
I was wildly, alively content.

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There is a secret music
that hides inside each yes.
At first we think we know
the tune. Heck, we might
even think we wrote it.
But soon, after yessing,
we learn there is a much
grander score than we ever
might have guessed,
and now we hear how
just one yes,
plucked like a string,
creates harmonies
and dissonances
and asks us to listen again,
not for what we think we hear,
but for everything else—
the soundtrack of the infinite after,
Perhaps you notice it, too,
how the masterpiece
needs you. How each note
informs the song forever.

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There was that summer
when my record player broke,
the needle always returning
to the first song and playing
the whole record again and again,
through morning, through midnight,
and so George Winston’s Winter into Spring
played all through my summer.
Soft and pensive, each melodic phrase
hung spare in the air as if inviting
revelation or breath
before burbling forward like snowmelt.
How I loved that summer,
every moment of it kissed
with chords shattered into arpeggios,
silences and grace notes.
Sometimes breaking brings a gift
we didn’t know we needed,
the way a broken record player
steeped me for months
in the grace of a melancholic beauty
and made the haunting familiar.
The way a broken heart can bring up
a record of beautiful memories,
one after another, day after day,
and somehow heal us by making a masterpiece
of the wreckage.

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Trough




There will be more
swells of grief that tug
me into their gray embrace,
and swirls of lament,
and great rollers of loss,
and rising waves of ache.
But for now,
the morning sun
slips low through the window
in a major key
and the cat finds a home
in my lap and purrs
and the tea in my cup
is warm and full of bright notes
and I’m here, in this
peace, in this sunlit
octave, I’m here.

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In the dark, we follow
the wail of live jazz
till at last we discover
the trio playing
on the street corner.

Not all invitations
to fall in love with life
are this easy to follow—
just turn the corner,
walk a few blocks,
then find a place to linger.

But tonight, the invitation
is so clear: to be led by the music
of the moment, to listen
with the silence inside.

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