Thought provoking posts with a touch of philosophy.

Reflections of a Crazed Musician: Winds of Change

 

There is a time and place for all things. Change: The inevitable force of nature that cannot be stopped, nor should it be stopped. Once in motion, the gears of the machine that is my reality continue to grind away as soulless as they come. How do you stop the machine of change? There is not a person among us who would not give up everything for one thing that changed in their lives. Despite that desire in us all, the machine keeps moving. Soulless, it will never sleep nor become satisfied with a single moment in time. Not for any one of us. We are not special in this life, so why do things happen that make us feel special? We do it to avoid the machine that grinds after us. There are many things that we do to avoid the grinding gears of progression. I played music, and it was played for my soul’s sake. To live for something was a great joy. Indeed, I didn’t find music. The music was always there in my face. I listened but didn’t hear it before. Not until I took it up myself as a child. I grew into a boy, though ignorant of my potential, I searched for purpose through the trumpet. I gathered the potential within me, and sacrificed my dignity. However, through doing that, I gained something much greater. By being admitted into the honor band, it was a sign of my gaining royal status once more. The nobles of the house of music called to me. I answered their call with my trumpet, and they welcomed me among them. I reached the wonderful honor band orchestra. My dream was at long last fulfilled. However, the gears of the machine of change stop for no single achievement. The scars on my heart would have no rest, as the nobles of this new court of royalty would test me. My journey wasn’t over.

As with all royalty, they were all eccentric in their own ways. The woodwinds were laid back, and had no qualms with anyone. They were the earth of the orchestra. The trees that leaned as they were blown from side to side in the swirling mist of music. Then there were the strings. They were graceful in their understanding of rhythm, and flawless in the sight of themselves. They were the peacocks of the court, tilting their head up at anyone who would be bold enough to compare them. The percussions were energy controlled, but could burst at any moment with perfectly timed noise. They were the most neutral of any in the court. Yet if a single mistake was made by them, it was known to all. They were water. We could not live in our musical land without them. Finally comes the brass. This was my home within the court. We were boisterous, competitive, and scheming. We were all best enemies. Those who could not take the heat of our glory were expelled from our midst with no honor, and their names were forgotten the very minute they left. Such was our creed; that any man who would join the brass were immediately under fire. They were fair game for our schemes, and fresh meat to be slaughtered and offered up to the director for humiliation. This was where I began when I entered honor band. I was fresh meat.

I found out quickly that this honor band was not full of many individuals who obtained pats on the back for trying. There were only three others who were apart of the brass. The first was one I named blue in my mind. For he always wore some manner of blue on him every week. There was no explanation, because no one asked. They could not have been wary of him though. His days were spent attempting to communicate to me. He failed utterly, as his language was not even one of royalty. It was crude, and it wasn’t long before I knew that I could oust him from his seat of nobility. He was no challenge. The second was a summer breeze who played the trombone. She stabilized us trumpets through her gentle demeanor and easy smile. I knew behind that smile laid a keen mind; else she would not be there. I made a note to not underestimate her. The last was a man who was rather exciteable, but behind his eyes there was great power. It wasn’t long before I discovered this power of his.

One day, I walk into the court to see him playing a string instrument. “What is this madness?” I thought to myself. Indeed, he played as if he had been a master his entire life. I was in awe, and suddenly he goes to his seat and picks up his trumpet and plays a catchy tune to bide his time until the director begins the practice. I was amazed, frightened, and my heart became envious. Here was I, thinking myself a prince among this court of royalty. Surely in this man, as he went from calmly playing a violin to righteously blasting smooth jazz on a trumpet, I had found the king of the court.

As I played among the court that was honor band, I succeeded in ousting Blue from the court. This left two volatile trumpeters with a neutral force that was the summer breeze. It became obvious that there was an unspoken fight between my fellow trumpeter and I. Whenever I came in early, we would play in jest light tunes with smooth rhythms and joke as good friends. Though when the director beckoned us to play, I raced against him feverishly, but time and time again I would fall behind him as if it were my normal place. Oh how I hated feeling as if he were my better. How I loathed feeling like I had fallen, when in reality I was more a prince than I ever was before. Before, when I had fallen from the grace of music all together, I was a street rat. Before I earned my right into the courts of honor band, I was nothing but a dreamer. My mind was naked in its ignorance of what true music could do for my soul. Yet there I was, questioning my royalty yet again. However, this time the self-doubt had no true case against me. There was just this man. I made it my mission to dethrone him. Not to oust him, for he was truly worthy of the court. Instead I simply wished to take his higher throne for myself.

The work to dethrone him was a process that slowly began consuming me once more. Though I briefly stopped when the summer breeze, who played her trombone so boldly, faded away. There was sadness to the affair that struck me as slightly poetic. I gave her one final note to take away from the court to remember it. I should have been more thoughtful in that time, but I was a young man who was eager to dethrone a king.

In the many months that followed, the king retained his throne. However, as time passed, I noticed his skills beginning to falter ever so slightly with the trumpet. It was at a time before a concert, one where we rehearsed wildly for. I saw my chance when there was a certain solo that the king played. He was weak, and one day I took a chance, and instead of residing in my second chair, I rose to the first to stand beside him as he played his solo. As he faltered, I continued playing flawlessly. The director saw my dedication, and knew I was serious about my task. The concert went ahead as planned, and I had dethroned a king. All was well at the court, until I received the news.

I would be going away. I would no longer be able to attend to the court. As I played the music throughout the day, my heart was staved off from being heavy. However, as the entire court enjoyed cookies and chocolates at our director’s home after a successful semester, I grew solemn. I told myself that I would not stop playing the music. I could go on without the court. Though in truth, I knew it would be hard, nay, impossible for me to retain the same glory. As the shadows of the night grew longer in the light of the moonlit sky my time to leave the court approached quickly. I wished my band mates farewell, speaking blissful lies that I would see them around. The last goodbye was for my nemesis. We had grown to understand each other. He understood my passion, and I understood his genius. Together we were unstoppable, but we had been stopped by the machine of change. I shook his hand, and even he understood that I was losing the love of my life. My heart to be ripped out, and my soul would grow lonely without music to play. He said no words. I wished him well, but still he said nothing. He simply nodded, and withdrew dark shades from his right pants pocket. He walked to the director’s piano nearby, and began to play. It was the theme from Charlie Brown. It was familiar to me. I smiled as he played in such a manner of gusto and happiness. I too, grew happy, and left that lavish home with a smile on my face.

As the years went by, the passion slowly faded within me. Only on random odd days would I pick up my trumpet, but without the royal court, it seemed so soulless. Everytime I played, I remembered finer days of glory and said to myself a fine lie that I would become glorious again one day. My trumpet stayed in my closet until the days where inspiration would grip me and I felt I had to play. The machine of change continued to grind away at my heart. The fateful day came when my family needed me to help them. Bills were not going away, and funding was short. I looked around, what to sacrifice? What did I have left? Suddenly my heart skipped a beat, and I turned to my closet. I knew what had to be done. There was no task that I had wanted to do less in that moment, then to place my royal instrument upon the chopping block of that soulless machine of change. Tears of bitterness collected in my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. My sadness struck deep like a chronic joint pain, but it afflicted my heart and soul. I told myself that I would play again. I said this to myself until the day my trumpet was sold. I didn’t want to be there to see who would receive my royal instrument. To look into the eyes of someone else and know that they would have my history? Yet my heart needed closure.

Indeed, I dragged myself to the meeting room. The buyers came in. My trumpet was there waiting for them. I saw it was an entire family. As the parents spoke to one another, I noticed a young child. He came to the trumpet case, his father opened it for him. There I saw a sight that lifted my heart from its despair. The boy’s eyes lit up, and there was a look of wonder on his face. I knew that look. So long ago, I saw the same look on my own face, in the reflections of that instrument. The boy’s smile was so bright. It lifted my soul from the pit it had been dwelling in. As they left with me and my brother’s instruments, I reflected to myself. I had sacrificed my history, and given a boy part of his very destiny. A faint smile formed on my lips and I closed my eyes. I could rest now, because my past was no longer my past. It had become that boy’s future. That passion still lives in me as a spark that causes me to dance. It causes me to love, and helps me to feel love from others. As my trumpet is passed from person to person, it creates a new spark that started with me. Each player will have part of my spark until the instrument is destroyed and not a note can be played from it. In this way, the spark will never die. It is immortal, and is destined to live through anyone who finds it.

 

First, I’d like to wave hello to my audience and readers of this blog. Indeed it’s been a little over a month since I disappeared. Getting things in my life together and finances in check for the rest of the semester. I come back with some thoughts for you. Let me give you two true scenarios that occurred in the past few months.

 

I was at work in August, and I was coming back from a nice walk during my break. I saw a woman walking to the door almost directly behind me from a reflection in the glass door in front of me. I decided this would be a good opportunity to do what is normally considered courteous. As I open the door, I stand there, and invite her to go before me. This is nothing new for me. A normal practice in manners and a demonstration of refined tastes… or so I thought.

The woman, who wasn’t terribly bad looking, stopped. She gave me such a leering look that one would have thought that I just told her she needed to go to the gym or something along those delicate lines. My eyes shifted from side to side before I realize something is amiss and I began feeling a touch awkward, so I told her that she could feel free to go ahead of me. To make a long story short, she lectured me on how she had arms and wasn’t a weakling and was fully capable of exercising her right to open the door for herself. Among many other things along the lines of it demonstrating… some psychological thing about me that ended with her implying heavily that I was a chauvinist pig.

 

Fast forward to much more recently. I’m sitting in a breakroom in one of the departments. No worries, I gained much permission to be there. Now this breakroom basically is brick on all sides except the side where the door is, which is pretty much all glass. I’m reading my class book, and another man came in and began cleaning a dish and grabbing some water from the sink.

Then another lady comes to the door, she is carrying two cups. It takes her about 5-6 seconds to open the door. I saw her out of my peripheral vision, my focus was on my work and I was sitting down, scooted up to a table. When she gets in, she is waiting to use the sink, she suddenly turns to me and says.

“Next time open the door.

The voice in my direction shocks me from my work. I tend to leave my headphones on my head even when I’m not listening to music out of habit. I had heard her, but I decided to give her a chance to re-state what she was saying since that seemed rather random and abrupt. So I took off my headphones and asked a pardon. She then said.

“You should have opened the door for me.”

I kind of chuckled a bit, she then mentioned that she was just playing. So I say the old “Ah, of course.” Needless to say, I didn’t believe that in the slightest, and it confused me. She didn’t address the other man at all. Then after a minute or so, the other man leaves, and another few seconds after she fills the cups with water, she looks back at me as she walks to the door. I’m back at my work trying to re-focus. Then as I make the critical error of looking up, she’s opening the door and shaking her head with a rather cynical grin. This annoyed me. She then said.

“Next time you see a woman, you should open the door for her.”

I’m about two seconds from an eye twitch, and I will explain why in a moment. So I told her, as she left, that it depended on the woman. She doubled back, and I said it again. To say she looked dubious, was an understatement. She then said that at least for her that I needed to open the door next time. I just said “Ah”. Now to analysis.

There are a few things that struck me immediately when she spoke the first time. There were a couple of questions I had.

 

1. She turned to address me, specifically. Why?

2. My mind was clearly elsewhere, why would she expect me to jump at the sight of a woman, pull back my chair, go ~around~ the room, dodge the man at the sink, and then finally get to the door.

3. Her attitude suggested that she did not think I was doing homework. What if I were doing a timed quiz? She doesn’t know, but should have put that into consideration noting that she most likely works there on faculty.

I’d like to think that race had nothing to do with it. But the way she totally ignored the other guy who was:

A. Standing nearly 8 feet closer to the door then I was.

B. There was no tightly packed tables and chairs in his way.

C. Was only filling up a cup with water.

So the crux of the matter is my confusion about when I’m supposed to be courteous? My normal answer for this is when it is reasonable. Like the first example which is a demonstration of this, I was heading in the same general direction and it was not an issue to spend some time opening a door. Whereas here, I was preoccupied, yet this woman felt clearly entitled to having the door opened for her while carrying those cups. By the time I got to her, she would have been already pretty much through the door, but was it wrong of me to not attempt it? Is it ~wrong~ for me to practice courtesy when convenient?

 

 

Brave Old World

Have you ever seen a cloud that made you smile?

I’m sure it’s been quite a while.

With all that consumes us, our time, our friends.

Working with a theory that never ends.

You’ll have your time, that time so sweet.

Know that you are small, wisp-like, weak.

In that knowledge you’ll have room to expand.

There are possibilities now, a hope for a plan.

I’m here to bring you those words. They have no sting.

Look to the the sky, and pursue eagle’s wings.

  • Wisps (danroberson.wordpress.com)

Who I See

I sat in silence, listening to my ballads aplenty on my laptop. Suddenly she rounded the corner, slowly looking around for a place to sit. She spied me, and I looked up to meet her gaze. With easy eyes and a gentle smile, I bid her sit across from me. She understood, quietly sitting. I periodically observed her.

Her hair was like that of a raven, black and unyielding to instruction or cohersion. Her dark eyes piercing like a black hole wielding a knife. Nay she turned not those eyes to me, but I saw them as they followed her laptop screen. Her eyebrows like the stripes of a tiger. She listens to her music, her ears slightly pointed as if she was descended from some fae being. The gentle arch of her nose, elegant as a maiden of a royal court, if ever my eyes knew royalty should it see the nose here.

Her lips were full, and promised a warm smile should the feeling grip her. Wait, behold as I quietly observe she does smile but briefly. Right I was, and never will she know that I write of her here for the world to see. For the world to know that indeed, there is elegance in the quiet stance of an observed stranger, I thank you for gracing me with your unexpected presence. But now I must go, and will endeavor to meet your eyes one last time.

I’m taking a break from my normal poetic posts, to wish a farewell to a friend of me and my family. I will tell you now his story, in my own words, from my own eyes and heart.

Innocent children we all were, me and my siblings. For years we asked mother for a new addition into the family. Perhaps we didn’t know for what it was we were asking, but it was incessant, and when my poor mother thought it was forgotten, it was brought up once again. One day, we came home late from some event or another, and there he was. Bone thin, gruff, but having a kind face, us children asked gently of our mother if we could spare some food. Our childlike curiosity and innocence perhaps played a role in her relenting. She allowed us to go into the house, and give him something to drink. He was so grateful, it touched my heart, and I felt happy.

It was only a few days, before he began showing up at our door. Ragged as before, but we the children seemed able to convince mother to let us give him something to drink again. He became a regular of sorts. Stopping by every other day, my siblings and I grew so fond of him. One day he came to the door, having been beaten up. We comforted him, talking to him until he felt better, and giving him food as well. Even mother began warming up to him.

One day, we came home from an event, it was dark. And there he was, next to our house. He sat near the garage door, shivering from the cold. The sky lit up with lightning with the promise of a terrible storm to rage that night. We looked at mother, we appealed that we couldn’t leave him outside in this with no shelter. Mother had no choice but to relent to us, our logic and hearts were decided.

We took him inside, it was a strange feeling, as if he had always belonged there but we didn’t know it. His curiosity brought smiles to everyone’s face. It was clear he needed a bath, and shampoo for his hair. So we obtained everything, and even took him to the doctors. He was part of the family now, and though we faced questioning relatives about this decision, it didn’t matter. No one could convince us that we made the wrong choice. He was, the right choice.

Years later, we purchased a darling dog. The sweetest and most fun-loving animal anyone could ask for. At first she and he didn’t get along well, and sometimes would have bad misunderstandings… but he grew to love her in a begrudging way. Last year, our dog died unexpectedly, and he took it very hard. Perhaps harder than any of us. The dog was so special to him, it was touching to see them spending time with each other. He loved her as only two best friends could.

Over the months that went by, and then a year… he had changed. He was no longer the vibrant and crafty person he was. He was more prone to seeking privacy, and isolation. He didn’t seem to care as much as he used to about life. But last week, it was early Friday morning, before most of us were even awake, that he left. He was with us for 6 (8, on correction) years… apart of the family without a doubt. It pains my heart, but I can understand, and I’m happy that perhaps he’ll find somewhere to heal his heart and be happy.

Thank you, my dear cat, for the memories and things you’ve taught me. Your unique intelligence and cleverness inspired me on more than one occasion. Me, and my family, will miss you while you go on your journey. Should you come back, you’ll always have a place, even if you don’t, your place in our hearts can never be replaced. You were the most wonderfully unexpected part of my life, and I’ll never, ever, forget you.

What Did You Say?

A shot in the arm is all I need. More bangs for your buck if you take what you please.

Paint the town red with that pie in the sky. You’ll get that pie in the sky when you die on the fly. 

You’ll have the whole she-bang, what’s not to like? All singing, all dancing, what a night what a night.

Be the bee’s knees like those bats in the belfry of my home. Remember what to do whenever you’re in Rome.

 

 

Void Time

When I sit in a park, and I am alone. I expect no one, there are no humans for miles around, and the insects do not buzz in my ear. There is no point to anything anymore. I am content to stay in that void space where life suddenly stops moving. Where I look above my head, and there is a canopy of leaves above my head, gently swaying to make the lights dance.

In that voided time I like to let my mind wander. Not petty temporary concerns like bills or social issues… let it fill with abstract things. Things I had never thought of before. Closing my eyes and letting the wind take my fears and cares away.

There is a beauty in that mystical time. When there is noise, but none that offend. When there is darkness that you can’t shut in. When suddenly, living seems like a gift in that of itself. How much can the voided time be seen as beautiful by those who know how to see love in all things?

At that moment, I hear a sound besides me, and open my eyes and look to my right. There sits a woman who is worried for her grades. Sifting through a bag that is needlessly large, to find an object that will lead her to more stress, am I right? Yes, it is a cell phone. Someone calls her, she talks, and I look away and pretend courtesy as I listen. Her heart is broken when she hangs up, she stands to leave… it’s time to invite another into the voided time.

  • Void (ptsdpoetry.wordpress.com)

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