To start things off, we’ll play a song that exemplifies a subtle use of vocal harmony, acoustic rhythm piano and acoustic sonority. We’ll also address the unnatural moments—the moments that aren’t musical, but mnemonically dysfunctional and not radio friendly. Letter writing might have been a better idea than listening to this song. We aren’t sure if letters can be melodic, but we’d like to think so. Keep tuning in. Keep searching for other examples of just what this is. Try to name it. If you can’t name it, you’re on your own—we might not have a place for a listener like you. Advertising is to frequency as Castle Rock is to meandering. Listen. Are there any paper towels in here? What’s this switch for? Have you finished your letter yet? Address it to a P. O. Box. Listen. Moments like this are wasted on those who need things in their entirety. This is a fragment. Fragments are to modern frequencies as biographies are to dark matter. Up next is the root of it all. Listen. Don’t be fooled. This is a radio channel. We play music.

* * *

We played this song because you’ve been watching TV all day and need to clean the house. Your dog is missing. The neighbors have it in their garage with their dogs. Your dog prefers community to your petting. His astrological sign changed from Cancer to Sagittarius on Wednesday, and you weren’t there to witness. Enough with your subtle usages. We’re no longer taking that into consideration. Call for your dog. See what happens. He doesn’t understand how you form acoustics, but he’d still like to hear from you. The more electronic the better. You’ll send the right message. We promise. Call and respond. Call and respond. Then antiphony will set in for the both of you. It’s better this way. You’ll have something in common with the formidable and not so distant similarities and coincidences identified in our forthcoming decisions about you. We want to know your atmosphere.

* * *

From here on out, plan your mysticism accordingly. Try avant-garde arrangements. We notice a new throw rug in the kitchen. It doesn’t work. It’s more shabby-chic than it is feng-shui. A conch shell in the bath might complicate your harmonies. Bask in the Golden Mean, which is to say, “We know what you’re thinking, and the neighbor lady won’t appreciate your ‘well articulated tenor’.” You’re not alone in your free associations. The cul-de-sac has spoken. A wave of light is breaking over you.

* * *

Like so much scrimshaw hoarded by your cousin Tessa, we’ve catalogued hundreds of your attitudes. Your likes and dislikes really add up. A growing litany of your emotions leads us to believe this: A wall is going up between your once spirited rhythm and synchrony—a baritone-like, black column of despair has appeared, like all columns of despair, out of one terrible mouth, sing-speaking a kind of poetry we don’t understand.

* * *

Your repetitive melodic phrasing baffles us. Are you a terrorist? You are so synth now. The world isn’t safe for this kind of white noise and misplaced timing. A revival is in order. Look to the not so distant past and deny it ever happened. Remake it. Except this time add some joie de vivre and jaw-dropping technical fireworks. Act like a virtuoso with a subdued and expressive aesthetic. The future is a bed of strings where we condition your mood.

* * *

Forget about your expressive aesthetic. We’re looking for a mellifluous aesthetic these days. Compose an inspired childhood reflection. Not a self-portrait necessarily, but a debate about your tonal harmony. We request this because your profile is incomplete. A small orchestra of complexities has been misplaced or destroyed, and there are often religious and numerological symbols found in these lost codes. We haven’t forgotten that you are a puzzle after all.

 


 

Michael Brooks Cryer teaches English at Arizona State University and is an occasional freelance music critic for Phoenix New Times. His poems and reviews have appeared in Quarterly West, Ecotone, spork, DIAGRAM, Hayden’s Ferry Review and others. He lives in Phoenix with his dog Archibald Sommersby, a swashbuckling blue blood.

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