He stole all the bridges and put ’em in a bridge museum.
Now he charges everyone a buck and half just to see ’em.
He claimed he was only borrowing and we believed every lie he’d tell.
Now he’s got a few bridges to sell.
This diabolical diablo used to be a good guy,
blushed at off color jokes,
and wouldn’t even tell a white lie.
He had a big ‘ol soft heart, dwarfed only by his ears. They were huge. Poor guy suffered constant jibing from his peers.
It was no matter to him though—he preferred to listen to the whims and woes of the world,
listened so well in fact that he was tuned in to the music of life.
To him, it sounded like a symphony—eliciting sympathy in concert.
He loved it best when everyone cared about the same thing – nothing made him more alive.
It was better, he thought, than the beat made by a hundred beating wings of bees busy building a hive.
Even better still than a thousand tiny ants raising a brand new hill.
It carried a baseline packed with more thrill than the guttural grumblings of hungry wolf pack fresh on a kill.
Shared global mood meant harmony.
He noticed it worked better when times were good than when things were bad, even though,
it was always easier for things to go badly.
Eventually the music began to change.
No one was in sync and everything was off key.
People started thinking only of themselves and lost the voice of the group.
It’s tough to have a chorus of solo artists.
Individualistic thinking threw off the notes.
Everything he heard sounded like a constant warm up, like, “me, me, meee”.
He loved music and we were ruining his favorite song.
The cacophony and discord struck a chord with our catastrophic conductor and he knew what he had to do.
He would orchestrate his own music.
The Maestro donned a big yellow tracksuit.
The grand plan was to pull the most decidedly dastardly capers just to get the beat going again.
Sure it’d be a bit bellicoso at first but it would be just to get the world back in rhythm, then gradually move into a steady crescendo when he began to let the good guys win.
As these things often go however, the plan quickly fell apart.
He got carried away on the new sounds his evil doings would create.
Oh the melodies synthesized maladies could produce!
He’d play Canon with cannons.
He got jazzed when folks got sad—deftly rendered blue notes when he docked his U-Boats.
The Great Barrier Reef was an underwater paradise—from space it could be spot—until he turned it into a parking lot.
He was able to disturb the peace and keep the pace for many years.
But then too the music began to sour—it started to sound like the same looping song.
It droned and droned, on and on it seemed to go—he was bored with what he got and wanted it gone.
Sure, he’d have an occasional tire pyre camp fire, but his heart wasn’t really in it.
He grew disconcerted. Even the birds wouldn’t sing for him anymore.
He knew happy people made the best music but he’d long since forgotten what that was.
The now miserable maestro wades into waist-deep waters, floats on his back with ears submerged. The closest he could get to silence, he lets the sound of dull drums drown out his doldrums.
Each day grew worse than the last—regularly waking up sadder than when he fell asleep, he grew meaner. He caused a ruckus when all he heard was raucous.
He was considering the merits of pulling a Van Gogh while ruining Rembrandts when she walked in.
Her footsteps sounded like timpani to him as it bounced through his chest, knocking into his heart and making it skip a few beats.
He stopped, turned, and stared—stunned. Going limp, the Sharpie fell from his hand, hit the floor and didn’t make a sound. For a moment, the maestro went deaf.
She was strolling the museum in hopes of finding something lovely.
Noticing he was struck senseless and possibly unable to properly conduct himself, she introduced herself.
She said her name was Gwendolyn but all he could hear now was a mandolin. Her voice was perfect.
She went by G for short and had a cleft lip.
He found her beautiful.
The only thing more glaring than her awkwardly exposed tooth, of course, was her eyes.
They were huge.
So much so in fact that she was prone to jitters due to the animated nature of stationary objects – in her world nothing was still. Atoms in a constant frenzy—shucking and jiving to a rhythm only the conductor could hear.
It was no matter though, the jitters were worth it. She was most at ease when the world was pleased. Only then could she see the beautifully chaotic kaleidoscope generated from the sun’s rays bouncing off our smiling faces.
But lately with all the unpleasantness in the world she found herself in a funk, a sort of blue period.
G hoped to find something worth looking into, but instead she found a master in pieces.
She knew who he was. She could always see the way his particles danced.
And she loved it.
At his very happiest his every being was divine.
Finally he was able, again, to conjure his words. The ensuing exchange was magic. A paintbrush and a flute going note for stroke.
G’s jitters were of a whole new tempo—even her tongue moved in step with the rhythm of his bits of matter and oh, every bit of him mattered. His prancing protons were only dancing to the tune of her voice, the beat of her heart, the ocean he hears when the blood rushes through her veins and crashes into her cheeks as she blushes.
For the first time, they neither saw nor heard anything other than what was right in front of them.
The conductor found his joy again. From that moment he knew no other mission; his sole charge was to make the world beautiful again.
He would do it for her.
He would induce the most wondrous tunes. So brilliantly crafted would they be that the planet itself will join in the celestial line dance, an intricate choreography of worlds reflected in the immense orbs of his wide-eyed world watcher.
Music was again his governor; it regulated every fiber in his body, every synapse fired to direct each grand sweeping stroke of his wrist.
He’d use his baton to play her a tapestry—weave together pastoral piccolos blaring pastels with cellos streaming yellows and tambourines dripping greens all over her daydreams.
By God, he loved her.
He needed her to see the infinite wonder of our cosmic dance. And to dance with her to that old familiar tune he cherished so much.
He began with retracing his steps, making right all the planetary plight he had generated.
He strained with cranes to relocate trains he’d stolen to keep as his own personal set. He granted public access to his precious private beach stretching from San Diego to Anchorage. And as much as it tickled him, he had to give up his new favorite hobby of splicing C-SPAN broadcasts into children’s cartoons.
As the world cheered up, the music began to change. The tempo increased, the rhythm picked up and the world began to rock.
They loved him and he loved their voice and he loved her and she loved him and she saw it all.
Over time the planet started taking on an interesting shape and sound. As all that love grew an evolution took place.
During the course of his song’s reprise, while the world was chanting its enchanting hymns a metamorphosis took them completely by surprise. The music began to amplify and reverberate, hitting off of ear drums playing staccato through their bodies knocking them in tune with each other starting from the base of their souls.
G sat back and watched with glee, utterly delighted at the changes taking place before her. For little did the conductor know, the song he led the world to sing was but of one verse. One spellbinding, one unending, one marvelous verse. A Universe. He was leading the world in speaking the language of the Universe – it just happened to be his favorite tune.
She could see the notes that were now bouncing forth from every being on Earth were of a familiar jam, precisely tuned for the acoustics of clanging against star stuff, whether hidden in the innumerable chambers of distant galaxies or the four of our hearts.
Collectively communicating with a new tongue, the earthlings renounced their citizenship and were naturalized into the nature of the heavens. The celestial chatter filled their ears in surround sound. They bore witness to stellar two steps with their vision now unbound.
The maestro knew what a tone meant to a piece, and as such he won atonement through peace. The result of the bond shared between G and her conductor brought about a change among the people. Every child, beginning with their own, from that point on could see and hear the notes and music of existence.
There was nothing to make fun of—they were all bug eyed and satellite eared.
It was no matter to them because all around them was lush with multiple symphonies in concordance with each other and playing layered melodies with spread out harmonies in a round.
Biologically tuned, they played by ear the whimsical notes they could see playing by the ears of all they came across. They lay back and watched worlds get peppered with asteroids landing perfect somersaults as they took repose from their drum circles praising the summer solstice.
The music man and his vision grew quite old together. They strode all the bridges, he still had a thing for them. They were on a behemoth of metal and cable—strings were always his favorite.
It was here that they would have their last dance—as he played his requiem song. He was always sheepish about his dancing, but that night he moved with joyful abandon. G could see swirling about him the energy with which he moved the world. He listened closely to her heart, his most reliable metronome, to keep his rhythm as together they slipped out of tune.
Jemy Francillon lives in Manhattan’s East Village is a member of the stageless arts collective.