Tag Archives: music

The Sea Rose

On the surface appears the first ripple of sound.
Somewhere on stage a drumstick clatters to the floor
and echoes through the empty cavern in which
two thousand people sit on the edge of their seats,
knowing everything is about to change.
But this silence, the silence before the storm
is agonizing — two thousand breaths
are waiting to released with the first downbeat.
Below us the sea is swirling, the voices filling
the air around us as the lightning grows in the distance.
The storm  is awakening. First, the hushed murmur
of violin bow on guitar strings, and soft touches
of fingertips on instruments, with a low hum of a bass note
rumbling below all other sounds.
And then —

A cymbal crash and the music bursts
into a wave full of sound and fury, rushing
through the stadium in powerful bass gales
while the thunder from the drum kit fills the room.
The tempest increases as
we sit on the deck, in the nosebleed seats,
and watch as the storm brews below me
We seafarers are merely trying to survive
this musical maelstrom, in little row boats of expectation,
waiting anxiously for the first rush of water
into the hulls of our ships, but being unprepared
for when the sound-waves crash over the ship into our bodies,
instantly drowning any emotional stability we ever had.
Catharsis through cloudburst.

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She sat in the train compartment and leaned her head up against the window, her right temple bouncing against the glass as the train lulled and swayed over the landscape outside. With each second that passed and each tree that flew by her vision, Zoya grew more aware that she would never see her home again.

She forced herself to keep her eyes dry and hide the truth, that she was now an exile from the only place she had ever known; but her vacant eyes — dry as they were — betrayed her. She stared at everything but saw nothing, only the images of her love back at home, standing in the doorway of their little apartment as if everything was the same, standing there angelically in the rubble of a destroyed dream.

Everywhere Zoya went, Mashka followed. In the street, in the mirror, on the front step, Mashka was there, or at least the memory of Mashka was. Zoya knew it wasn’t real; she knew the Maria she was seeing in her mind was not the Maria of flesh and blood. She knew Maria was long gone now, her Mashka, the girl with the big blue eyes, who couldn’t bear to leave her family, who couldn’t bear to forsake her homeland, even if it meant becoming another number in the body count or being persecuted for loving the wrong person.

Zoya knew this. She told Mashka to flee with her, to run away — France, Belgium, Italy, anywhere — to escape the impending devastation that the Red Army was sure to inflict, the danger of being a woman in love with another woman. That was a forbidden love back home, and Zoya wasn’t even sure where she was going — wherever that was — would accept her love either. But it did not matter now. Here Zoya was on the train, barreling away on this locomotive far away from her life before. Her eyes focused and unfocused as she rolled by. The farther west she traveled the redder the trees seemed to be in this late autumn weather, as though the Bolsheviks were following her the whole time, their colors poisoning the safety she felt on this train traveling away from the toxic epicenter. But home had become grayer and bleaker to her the longer she was there, growing more war-torn in the days before her departure; it was now a dead country to her, as dead as Mashka would soon be.

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Requiem in A Flat

Twenty minutes before eight o’clock, Peter Carrigan stood in his bedroom inspecting himself in the full-length mirror hanging from the back of his closet door. He looked adequate: the three-piece suit he wore hung a little too loose from his shoulders and his torso. He needed a new suit, but he was pleased enough with his snazzy appearance. It would do for the occasion.

Peter adjusted his bow-tie and checked his watch again. 7:42 p.m. He mustn’t be late — he had a very important date to keep. He combed through his thinning hair once more and reached for the bottle of cologne on his dresser. A cloud of odorous mist cascaded through the air onto him. When he reached absent-mindedly to place it back on the dresser, his hand slipped; the bottle fell onto the floor. Peter flinched, fearing he would have a stain to clean up. But the bottle’s impact was cushioned by a large pile of papers on the floor.

In fact, all of Peter’s bedroom was full of papers. Stacks of papers bound together and hole-punched; single leaflet sheets with scrawls of messy writing overtop of them; mostly, staff-lined paper with music notes scribbled on them, crossed out, and rewritten. Peter’s immaculate appearance now, at 7:47 p.m., served as a contrast to the heaps of paper on the floor. He stood in a clear spot in front of the mirror, his black-and-white figure erect in the backdrop of a mess. Aside from the papers, his bed was neatly made, his clothes were hung straight on hangers in his closet and his violin leaned quietly up against the wall near the door.

At 7:50 p.m. Peter walked out of his bedroom, picking up his violin on the way, and tiptoed down the stairs of his complex. He knew exactly how long it would take him to reach his destination, where he could finally put on a show. The closest tube station was a block south of his flat and he walked there stoically, nodding politely at the people he passed on the way. He walked down the stairs and directly onto the train, which had arrived exactly when he expected it would. He removed the strap of his violin case from his right shoulder and stood serenely near the door with it standing up between his legs. He balanced it against his knees while his hands remained in his coat pockets, fidgeting with what was inside them.

The ride took only a few minutes, and when the doors reopened at his stop, Peter picked up his violin, slung it over his shoulder again and exited the tube car. He weaved his way through the Friday night crowds in the city, up the stairs and back onto the street above ground. He turned left, walked twenty paces and found himself at the building where he would be giving his show. He pulled his left hand out of his pocket and checked his wrist again for the time: 7:57 p.m. Perfect timing.

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