Posts Tagged ‘music


You Never Know

On rickety legs and sturdy canes they cross the parking lot. Well-groomed but unassuming. The old man sporting a crisp white shirt and bolo tie; the old woman in a newly de-pilled green cardigan. She is not wearing a head scarf because she is not Russian and the weatherman has not predicted rain. (She has several at home though. One is very similar to that worn by Helen Mirren in the film “The Queen”. Another has been treated with a Japanese water repellent which according to the label renders the scarf impervious to rain, snow or sleet.) Neither is he, in truth, a cowboy but he likes the affectation and- on days they go to the doctor- it gives the young receptionists something to comment on and to talk to each other and to him about while his wife is digging in her purse for their insurance cards.

Today they are going to the doctor. No one pays them any attention except a small middle-aged woman who seems to think she’s a French sailor. She looks them up and down then winks. The old man and old woman nod pleasantly at her in greeting and all three continue on their way. The middle-aged woman- being the kind who likes to have a story to tell about wherever she happens to have gone and whomever she may have met- will later describe the couple to her friends and they will say “aw” and coo about how sweet they sound and how wonderful it is to find a soulmate and lifelong companion in this mean old world. The old couple, on the other hand, will never think of her again.

After the doctor’s visit they may have lunch at the community center set up especially for old folks- they’re known as “50 or Better” as if Life were one big poker game and you had to waste half your years sitting by without being able to open- or they may go home and have some soup and a sandwich or some leftovers. Then the afternoon stretches before them like a patient anesthetized upon a table and their choices are limited only by their energy and the amount of gas in the car. Bingo, bunko, movies, classes, museums, shopping- they are 70 or better with disposable income so the world is their oyster. Today they settle on liver and onions at the community center then staying for a showing of a remastered copy of “It Happened One Night.” Tomorrow it may be lunch eaten watching the barges on the river then a walk along the banks looking for the new family of ducks.

But every night at 8:30- except for Wednesdays when they go to prayer meeting at the church- they put the car in the garage, lock all the doors, and flip on the porch lights. He puts Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” on the stereo and turns the volume up so it fills the house, very nearly shaking the vases on the end tables and the special occasion dishes in the china cabinet. The old man and old woman go to their bedrooms and close the doors. When they emerge minutes later, they have been transformed! They are wearing black pants and white ruffled shirts made from the finest silk which has been harvested from the most select silkworms who were cruelly and unceremoniously plunged into hot water to meet their deaths. (This does not bother the couple because someday- they have no doubt- they too will unceremoniously and possibly cruelly meet their deaths.) The old woman has tucked her hair under a large hat with an even larger feather on it. Thus attired they advance towards each other until they are only a few feet away. They bow. They turn their backs to each other, walk three steps, pull the lower third of their canes away from the handle end, and shout “En garde!” Then they fence. The roaring and crashing of the instruments performing Wagner’s masterpiece barely drowns out the clanging and shouting of the swords and those wielding them.

After perhaps twenty minutes of their clash, their bodies dampen with perspiration and their elderly throats grow dry. The old man pours each of them a glass of chilled wine, they quaff it and take up their weapons again. Wagner rages as they fight and drink deep into the night until they are too tired or stiff or glowing to go on. Then the old woman turns off the stereo and the old man sweeps her up and into his arms, deliberately dislodging her hat so that her silver locks tumble down to frame her face then to tickle his forearm where it peeps from his shirt sleeve. He carries her the half-dozen steps to the bottom of the stairs, they climb at their own pace, and she stops at the top to wait for him to sweep her up again and carry her into the guest room.

They shed their clothes with great eagerness- music still ringing in their ears and wine flowing in their veins. Some nights they make love then; other nights the intimacy is spiritual and emotional instead. Later, one after the other they’ll rise to visit the bathroom and make the quiet return to their own bedroom to sleep the rest of the night.

In the morning, they’ll awaken, dress, breakfast, and go about their errands, indistinguishable from any other couple a decade or so past middle age that you might happen to see. Then again…you never know.


Not About You

Sunny day in early spring/late winter
I’m driving with the windows down
Singing along with my iPod Shuffle
And not thinking about you.
The Salsa music doesn’t bring to mind
The Latin dance lessons you said would be perfect
For getting to know someone…else.
The sun’s heat doesn’t remind me of when
You got drunk in Spain and between dry heaves
Tried to sleep with the hotel maid.
The sky is not the blue of the cashmere sweater
You didn’t wear if we went somewhere together;
You preferred ratty logo shirts from jobs you’d lost years ago.
I’m driving along on this winter/spring day and the
Sun is shining and the
Music is blasting and the
Wind is ruffling my hair
And I’m not- heartless cheating bastard-
Thinking about you.


Northwestern Gothic: Installment 2

This portion of the story was contributed by @flowersbyfarha AKA Rebecca. Thanks!

So, seeing her as sent from heaven, the Caldwells named her ‘Angela.’ Though in most ways, an ordinary child, they soon noted an unusual flair for music, singing and dancing her way through life. Then one day, her choir teacher, Mrs French, showed Angela a few chords on the piano to demonstrate the progression in the song the class was working on. Angela’s natural talent suddenly blossomed in unexpected ways. Mrs French coached Angela after school and encouraged Angela to perform in the spring concert.

Angela’s musianship was truly a gift from heaven. When she was taunted by schoolmates for her extra fingers, the family reassured her that when she grew up, they would be transplanted to Grandpa Cade’s hand; she would be normal; and, no one would tease her ever again. They did not anticipate this dilemma. With a 6th finger on each hand and heavenly talent, she could play like no other–chords with an extra note and extensions with surpassing speed.

At the concert, the Caldwells sat stunned in an unexpected dilemma: After all these years, they began to wonder, would it be right to transplant Angela’s extra digits to Grandpa? Did she need them after all–or did he? Had the Lord simply taken away, or did He give a double helping?

For the first time in their lives, the Caldwells began to question their interpretation and their assumptions about their faith.


Nobody Makes It From Here

I had a dream when I was just a little girl
I’d take the music scene by storm;
They’d sing my songs around the world.
I’d be the greatest of the stars;
I could hear the guitars ring.
I don’t dream that any more.
Nobody makes it from here.

Nobody makes it from here.
I guess someone should have told you.
I’m so sorry, my dear.
Just put those girlish dreams behind you.
Nobody makes it from here.
You should have tried when you were younger.
You’d best be happy as you are
Nobody makes it from here.

I had a dream about a house upon a hill.
I’d have a husband and a home
And we’d fill the rooms with laughter.
But now my man is gone;
He doesn’t love me any more.
The house is dark and I’m alone.
Nobody makes it from here.


Is This What Csikszentmihalyi Meant By Flow?

There are days lately- it’s happening more and more-
When I’m thinking I must be losing my mind
Because everything that happens from the traffic
To Fatima griping
To the meter of an answer to an e-mail
Has a definite rhythm
As if my life was a poem,
As if our words and actions were music,
As if the day was already composed and now the famous conductor was just leading us through our pages.
So, I know when the bus is going to pull out in front of me
And I can predict which kid will be the next to act up;
Even the most stressful days feel almost like dancing
And it’s the ones that are out of rhythm that give me a headache.
It’s the way things glide past when you’re tipsy and are still a long way from drunk.
If I could relax, I think this state could be wonderful;
It’s just so effin’ weird.