Magicians play fools, using prestidigitation

and axiomatic misdirection

to create two legs out of a box, twitching

as their body’s head goes on smiling,

complacently unaware that they’re missing

something down there.

(possibly even something on top)

its not worth worrying over.

But real magic comes from musicians

who play chords, scale up scales

to produce auditory promontories,

creating full view universes out of

rhythm and scansion.

The tee-tot burros march with Copeland

down the Grand Canyon, Schubert beplumes

the wandering peacock, while baroque barges

ply the docks by Herr Bach.

You see, I have favorites, the players that layer

flavors of sound- gustatory never perfunctory

some loudmouth famous, others scraping by.

Some living, the rest desiccated, tombed

or zoomed out in memory made of vinyl,

tape, or a billion electron bits.


I cry and fume when Ochs fills the room

and slander and gander at Dylan’s

chameleons (but love him no matter).

I crank up the sound when the Beatles

pound out psychotherapeutic landscapes

and reality I escape with the Beach Boys

within whose noise I bask in crazy, harmonious,

pure, limitless joys.

Joni Mitchell sparkles, a diamond polished

brilliant harmonics attuned to

deep inner moods, a startling starling.

I listen to Van Dyke Parks, an indefatigable

original whose dense poetry inspires me

to burn convention and experiment with

contention, practically his invention.

From Motown, baroque, and folk

to electronic jam bands seeped in

marijuana smoke;

jazz, its syncopation the birth of creation

this whole goddamned planet, this

Rock and Roll nation, is a giant

trillion megawatt radio station.

Shooting out songs I treasure which I’ve

heard only once so they can last forever

stored in my mental echo chamber.

I hum and delight in the kitchen

at night, pouring tunes down the drain,

as I sing each refrain, again and again.

And every morning I awake anticipatory

a new day of discovery, listening for

new melody, actively participating

in this magic, the magic of music.