I’m always looking for ways to combine my music and poetry, but the two don’t seem to go together often. As it goes with writing, any attempt to make myself write a themed or particular song falls flat. The magic only works if I show up at the keys open to receive whatever comes my way…and even then, the results are mixed. The deeper I go into writing both music and poems, the more convinced I am that artists tap into the universal flow and channel some of the wonder. It’s why I can stand back, look at something I wrote, and say, “By Jove, that’s damn good…and I didn’t have a lot to do with it.”
Talking about the process is like swimming about walking…it just don’t work, mates. The closest I can get is the idea of the “poet as medium,” to borrow Jack Spicer’s term. I’ve just discovered Spicer and sense a kindred spirit.
Anyway, enough navel-gazing. I wrote the following poem two days ago, and wrote the song months prior. The two fit well together, I think.
The way it came down the wire, I thought
all hope was lost— your voice telegraphed terror
and I received it in the dusty little room where
I receive all such messages, from the mundane
to the world-shattering, it didn’t matter which.
Your beacon was turned on permanently,
as was my receiver. It was a love/hate thing,
heavier on the hate, but there was love at first.
You’re somewhere in Texas now, breathing
in hot, clean air, breaking all the promises
you made back then to keep in touch and turn
to me when dangerous times came knocking
on the thin cage of your ribs and jacked your heart
dials past ten, when glowing-eyed rats began
chewing on your internal wiring, when daylight
emptied itself and let the darkness kiss your hard mouth.
I’m in the room, listening. You’re just not broadcasting.
Song: “Shortwave Heartache”