Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

The Invention of Music


I looked down and saw the world
as a kitchen table covered in bills.
When I next looked up it was April.
Next April. And the Palo Verde
had grown out their yellow hair.
To see them swaying there
in the sweet, grim, carbon-mon-
oxidic breeze of the snowbirds’
SUVs low flying from posh shop
to shop nearly…Oh, dear reader,
truthfully, it chilled me through,
as though a school bus had wrecked
inside the ice cube of my chest.
Once, just to fall out of bed
required, minimally, at least two
full strength evolutionary theories.
Precambrian sea-life networked
to guidance systems that seek
the sun—that’s the brain; the heart
is a dumb pump, yet for those sensitives
who would distract us from death’s
inward gaze, rewards will arrive
with the return of the rainy season,
the return of los-tres-mariachis,
which is the invention of music
out of the ruins of the boredom
of the academies of good sense.
The expressionists had it right.
Like form, the spirit is most alive
that is least squared. If you cantilever
a lemon-yellow eighth-note, say,
out over a half-note pause
of pale violet, you get the feeling
that something which had long
been left undone, some burden
you were born with, has been erased.
And that, mi querido, is a song of freedom.

Jean-Paul Pecqueur is from Tacoma, Washington, and he currently lives in Brooklyn, where he teaches at the Pratt Institute. His first book of poetry, The Case Against Happiness, was published by Alice James Books.  New work has appeared in Ping Pong, The New Megaphone, and Vinyl, as well as others.  Greying Ghost Press will publish a chapbook titled “To Embrace Sea Monsters” during 2013.