Not music?

What is the difference
between music and not music?
Where is the gap between song and sound?
Where is the space between rhythm and repetition?
When are textures just trappings and rests just respites?

Which structures must we shape and which may we suppose from our surroundings?

Is a dirge without melody merely a eulogy?

Do we weep without rhythm so we don’t attract the damned,
When our relentless laments don’t strike up the band,
When our notes have no pitch, and we write and pass by hand?

When the dynamics fall static and we’re scattered on the moans,
Or timbres take root above and cleave past our bones,
What music was left us, and what have we left?

What bassless ambitions will others recall?
What fortes of ours drove friends up the wall?
Why couldn’t we measure more time with them all,
Laughing and singing well after nightfall?
What’s stopping us now, where is our wherewithal?

Why can’t we make music from the soft cues around us?
Why can’t we shake our chains til the ringing unbounds us?
Why can’t we hear the earth, and join in chanting with it?

We can, we can, we can now.
A one, a two,
A one, two, three, four…

Hidden Lake

The parking lot for the Hidden Lake is a mile north of the Interstate,
Just past the Veterans’ Cemetery.
Wind a mile further or so past the map at the entrance that doesn’t show the newest connecting trails,
Past the roofless cinderblock farmhouse with trees grown up through its dirty floor,
Up, and Over the concrete dancefloor poured during prohibition that overlooks the graveless lawns that hopefully field the outskirts of the cemetery,
And beyond the empty train car that someone must have hauled up here as a joke, or on a dare, or as part of the scheme to conceal consumption of liquors untaxed and unlawful,
And there is the Hidden Lake.
Cut stone walls shear up from a quarry missing a lake’s worth of rock,
And the muddy trail around invites enfoliaged visitors to appreciate it from each side.
Is this a legacy?
Things taken and took from nature, reclaimed and repurposed?
Is this vacation pit more impressive than the all the blocks that were taken from it and have since crumbled?
There are no plaques riveted to the benches extolling, “look upon my works, ye leisurely, and relax!”
Though the stapled paper at the trailhead warns in laminate: “valuables must not be left in vehicles.”
The stewards of this place have seen things taken,
And this place is open to the sky.

The last iPhone

Will people travel one day to see the last iPhone?

By last, I speak of finality, not recency.

Will the final iPhone last?
Will it stand against the sky like the last pyramid,
casting solar-powered shadows across the sand?
Will it stand as a testament to our societal might at organizing labor against its interests,
a monument to slow death constructed on the backs of cheap life?
Or will it just linger quietly,
its legacy cemented classically onto a back page of apple’s online store,
next to the last iPod?

Can pyramids share a horizon?
Can we make it that far?

Architecturally Refined

If triangular polygons are the the atomic unit
of the 3D models in our games,
rectangular ones must share the same meaning
for the premises in our lives.

I ride past boxy plots with boxy buildings,
Reduced in complexity to be rendered more quickly.
Refined such that workers rise up structures
in frames per hour.


I hear you should shop only while your stomach is content.

Wake only when your mind is rested, they say.

A magazine cover reads in the checkout line:
“10 spring tips to stop worshipping graven images”

But I am hungry,
And I am tired,
And I know at least eight of those tips are recycled.

All-Star Tyger

Tyger, Tyger, skating slight,
But not yet thinner than the ice;
What encircled water warm,
Will mightily embrace thy form?

Does the cindrous globe aflame,
Burn both mine and thine the same?
In the way that I admire,
Without boredom, I seize the fire?


If not focus, direction.
If not direction, misdirection.
If not misdirection, blur.

If not speed, acceleration.
If not acceleration, modulation.
If not modulation, flow.

Don’t chart,
just tumble and stumble
places you didn’t know
were for you.


The Tennessee State Lottery
Is a bargain for anyone
Who needs a daily reminder
God doesn’t favor them.

A two-dollar lesson,
A ward against exceptionalism
Repeated routinely.
God will never let you play to win.
Work for it.


Some of the little boys pretend to be Achilles,
Dipped upside down by their mothers,
Screaming that they’re drowning,
In unheelthy invincibility.
While some of the little girls,
Can’t let go of being Elsa,
Closed off and locked away
From the terrors of friendship.
But all the children on the schoolyard,
Take turns being Spider-Man,
Amazing and sobbing
Over Uncle Ben on the sidewalk.
Surrounded by the other kids
Who pretend to capture the moment
On invisible phones
Not thinking to call for help.

All the stars

All the stars in the sky can’t fuel
The engines of my ambition,
I’ve done the math, and
Will need to tap
an alternative source.
With every man a fulcrum
And my tendrils on each lever,
And the galaxies so distant,
My task will take forever.
So I’ve started braiding spacetime here
And cutting what ifs there.
And considering hiring a maid from an app on my phone,
Though it makes me a bit uncomfortable.