Friday, June 24, 2011

On Not Playing A Synth Workstation #2

“Seems like nothing ever comes to no good
up on Choctaw Ridge”

This morning I chopped up vegetables and dumped them
into a pot of boiling water. Some water
splashed against my arm and I screamed. Pam ran over,
wet a paper towel in cold water and held it
against my burned skin. She asked me, “Are you okay?”

I nodded, smiled, said, “It was so unexpected.
And, holy cow, did it hurt!” Still holding the towel
wet with cold water against my burned skin, Pam laughed.
She said, “Holy cow, did you scream!” I put my hand
over her hand, kissed her on the cheek, said, “Thank you.”
“Just be careful,” she said. “I don’t like hearing sounds
like that!” I laughed. “I don’t like making sounds like that!”

I tried to read a book, but stopped. Page after page
was one horrible sound after another, neat,
carefully transcribed into a pleasant typeface.

Thin lines stretched into a grid—straight lines of typed words,
the letterforms were like notes on a music staff
or maybe the lines were like wires against the sky.

Musicians—back when musicians could read music—
arranged notes and melodies and chords carefully
on what is still sometimes called manuscript paper.

Electric lines against the sky carry power
carefully arranged into signals but the wires
are indifferent to the data that’s encoded.

My arranger keyboard is a synthesizer
but it was built to make music not design sounds.
That’s fine. Seems like nothing ever comes to no good
up on Choctaw Ridge. And flowers don’t make any sound
when you drop them off a bridge into a river.

“And, me, I spend a lot of time picking flowers
up on Choctaw Ridge

And dropping them into the muddy water
off the Tallahatchie Bridge”

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