The Composer

He worked out back in a musical graveyard
Said every night he heard the double bass skeletons humming to themselves
While the street lamps gave up the filaments in their bulbs to be strings for the violas and violins
He once caught a group of alley cats pawing at the piano that died of neglect and cancer rust
Said it didn’t even try and sound
or together
with it
And he respected that
When the wind picked up
All the brass and woodwind would harmonise like a choir
Except they’d be all off key and broken
like a real singer
And he wanted them to be singing classics like St. James Infirmary or Dark Was the Night
But the guitars always told him they were too alive for memorials and everything was too fucking bright for dark night howling
So instead they all chanted about how the sun played the varnish off their backs
And how it reminded them what it felt like to echo the wind around leaves back in the day
Not that they minded
being bazoukis or banjos or drums or bassoons
or harmonicas chirping like whisky hummingbirds
fluttering through the blues
But they did miss the roots
Not relying on fingers and mouths for their music
Like they do now
Like we do now
He said he once spent a night dancing with dogs who snuck into the yard just to hear the rain on old wood and dusty keys and how the percussion sounded like tap dancing ghosts
And they all howled together
the dogs and
the ghosts
like rivers or revelers
The last thing he said was
You can’t kill music
They’ll just make a song of silence
Said you can dance to anything if you let your feet listen
But never
Leave the instruments unplayed.


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