Tuesday, October 20, 2015

If They Hit the Magic Decibel the Whole Building Will Lift-off


Tracy K Smith

5pm on the nose. They open their mouths
And it rolls out: high, shrill and metallic.
First the boy, then his sister. Occasionally,
They both let loose at once, and I think
Of putting on my shoes to go up and see
Whether it is merely an experiment
Their parents have been conducting
Upon the good crystal, which must surely
Lie shattered to dust on the floor.

Maybe the mother is still proud
Of the four pink lungs she nursed
To such might. Perhaps, if they hit
The magic decibel, the whole building
Will lift-off, and we'll ride to glory
Like Elijah. If this is it—if this is what
Their cries are cocked toward—let the sky
Pass from blue, to red, to molten gold,
To black. Let the heaven we inherit approach.

 Whether it is our dead in Old Testament robes,
Or a door opening onto the roiling infinity of space.
Whether it will bend down to greet us like a father,
Or swallow us like a furnace. I'm ready
To meet what refuses to let us keep anything
For long. What teases us with blessings,
Bends us with grief. Wizard, thief, the great
Wind rushing to knock our mirrors to the floor,
To sweep our short lives clean. How mean

Our racket seems beside it. My stereo on shuffle.
The neighbor chopping onions through a wall.
All of it just a hiccough against what may never
Come for us. And the kids upstairs still at it,
Screaming like the Dawn of Man, as if something
They have no name for has begun to insist
Upon being born.


  1. I don't have anything to play cassettes on

    for about thirty dollars amazon will sell you something that will convert cassette tapes to mp3 files - rated four and half stars

    1. Yeah, a friend has one, though when I've tried the tapes snap and/or are damaged. Most I have are more than 25 years old, degraded.

      Hey, Tate's last collection is out. More tomorrow.

  2. Perhaps, if they hit
    The magic decibel, the whole building
    Will lift-off, and we'll ride to glory
    Like Elijah.

    Last of the New Wave Riders - Utopia

    "Turn on the power" cried the army of sound
    And the hum of the amps shook the trees and the ground
    And like a single man we cranked up the knobs
    And a thousand guitars sang our national anthem
    We captured the whole human race
    There was nowhere to hide, playing filled every space
    Jamming the world back into place
    Everyone a star
    We hit the supreme overload
    And the great amplifier began to explode
    The smoke is slowly clearing away
    And the whole universe is a giant guitar


    From a commentary on the song:

    the song evokes a tremendously powerful musical experience - in which all play in unison the shared song of our soul in a way that produces a kind of worldwide epiphany - everyone sees themselves as the star they are -

    'jamming the world back into place' plays on the polysemous word 'jam' - to forcefully put into position /to improvise music together

    and when the smoke slowly clears away (interpret this for yourself, friends) the allegorical guitar is in our hands, to use our life to play the music which expresses our REAL self

    - may it be so

  3. Every time I see a dBs video I'm transported back to high school/first 2 years of college when I hung with those guys, running the sound board & lights, etc. I'm old.

    Thanks for the linkage, as ever.

    Oh, and Napoleon will show. He's just tomcatting around. It's that time...

    1. The emergency alert has always worked - and obviously I hope it works this time - but something's different (not only with Nap but with EVERYTHING - shit be weird, feels like shit be fucked).