Posted: February 9, 2010 in Poetry

CONTEXT: March, 2007

This was one of the two poems I performed in the finals in 2007. It was the one I knew I had memorized (the explanation for that comes with the next poem).

This piece is kind of my love letter to music. I really love music and prefer to be surrounded by it. My tastes are broad and vary with my mood. These days I am listening to a lot of hip-hop, but that could just as easily be the Replacements, or Tom Waits, or Spoon, or whatever.

After I made the Capital Slam team, we had a gig opening for Shayne Koyczan and then another as the feature for Dusty Owl. At the Dusty Owl show I performed this and afterwards I was approached by a music teacher who told me that he always liked to talk to a ‘fellow musician’. I informed him that I was not a musician at all. I tried to play the saxaphone in elementary school and the bass guitar in my early twenties, but neither worked out (though I am now trying to learn the harmonica.)

He was surprised. He thought the poem showed that I was ‘obviously’ a musician.



The first notes start
Just a taste of what’s to follow
One after another
Until a note, and a note, and a note
Become more than the sum
A stanza, verse or refrain

You stop listening with your ears
As the music washes over you
And carries you away
On the wings of an idea

Soon you FEEL the sounds of the instruments
Whether guitars, violins,
Voices, or an old tin can

It isn’t about GOOD music or BAD music
Or rock or hip-hop
Or baroque or bluegrass
Or funk or jazz
Or that certain sort of oddball
Experimental music that appeals
To a very select few

It is about the connection
The feeling you get when you hear
The right music, at the right time,
In the right mood, with the right person
Even if that right person is only just you

Music is to ears and brains
What sex is to everything else
Driving bass, deep within your core
Chorus after chorus
As the music builds
Moving up the fretboard
Or along the keyboard
Until reaching a climax
That leaves you satiated
At least until the next number

Whether seizing an opportunity makes you think
Of Eminem or Steve Winwood
It is the music

Whether you want Country Joe & the Fish
To tell Bush what they think
About the war in Iraq
Like they told LBJ what they thought
About the war in Vietnam
Your idea of pescatarian music
Is the strains of Schubert’s Trout Quintet
Whisking you down a babbling brook
And away from this busy world
It is the music

Sitting on the shoulders of sound
It can betray your secret emo longings
Or join in as you scream from the rooftops

Someone once said,
“If not for Art, why exist?”
Think of a world without music
No more Replacements or Tom Waits
No more Bach or K’naan
No more from that sax player
On the corner with the open case
Trying to collect enough coins
To just keep playing

The world has a soundtrack
If you only listen
It’s got brand new Bob Dylan lyrics
Laid over a Jam Master Jay track
The rhythm section of
Buddy Rich and Jaco Pastorius
Remind us that music
Can be precise and exacting
Nick Drake drops in some backing vocals
And we feel how he feels
Right to the edge of the abyss
Until we step back
And live another day

So when the iPods all die
And the CDs and records stop spinning
And the guitar strings all break
And the brass is all tarnished
And the woodwinds all crack
And we all lose our voices

Our toes start to tap
Our fingers start to snap

Until we are our music

Yes, I quoted myself. You got a problem with that? 🙂

Next we have the OTHER poem I did in the finals, and the first to appear on a CD.

  1. […] Comments (RSS) « Music […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s