Following a crescendo of violence,
an allegro jubilee of relief and release
brings us all a moment of respite
before resuming the rhythm of the rigour
and ardor of unflinching struggle.
And a young woman tells us we can
be the light if we dare, and her innocence
gives us new hope and a new cadence
for resolute strides to an unknown
future of heat, yes, but also illumination.
Still, this isn’t a cadenza, but a restrictive
repair, a scaffolding of democratic skills,
a dampening of fear and a regrouping
of willing collaborators marching forward
on the promise of hope and camaraderie.
And the band plays on, because the music
of justice has no coda, only refrains.
I never thought John Cage was
trying to tell us anything about silence.
He told us music never stops,
only listening does,
and what if we never stop
listening? What if we become
so accustomed to focusing
on sounds that we forget to
tune out and block and cocoon?
What if we love sounds
“as they are,” as he says?
Will we ever get anything done?
Or will we be swept away,
dancing to the garbage trucks,
crushing today’s refuse to bits?
Will we sway softly to our own
heartbeats or hum in tune to tinnitus?
We won’t distinguish between the
sounds of skates on the sidewalk
and the instructions of the arresting officer.
As our loved ones tell us we’re the
only one, we’ll be listening to the
dripping of a loveless faucet
or the groaning of a protesting
gate hinge forced to give way.
We will live in a constant stream
of unconnected moments,
drowning in the music God
sent to save our souls.
I’m getting a little creeped out by all these discussions of panpsychism so near Halloween. I keep imagining my self, that conscious thing I call me, being a composite of billions of conscious particles that form this flawed and striving awareness who suffers through the trials of material existence. I then imagine my death, inadequately defined by current bioethical standards, and the concurrent self-awareness of all those same particles. Surely they are aware of the transition. Surely they are aware that the body is slowly releasing them to a more generalised universal awareness. The bones, of course, are the last to go. These particles have always had the strongest attraction, the most rigid bond. They only take their leave reluctantly, in obedience to fire, perhaps, or millennia of attrition. Only when release is completely unavoidable will they depart and join the infinite chorus of self-less bliss.