The spoon will be used as a fork

Posted by on 10.10.10 | 2 Comments
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We sing while people are eating. Moving around.
We are probably a little too self-congratulatory after every
Completed song, a constant surprise that we are making music after all
An insatiable need to try to make it happen again and again.
Beyond us, there is a large group of people eating breakfast, plates and bowls
And ugly donated mugs and mismatched silverware, the knowing in the eyes that you got there late enough that all the forks are already gone, and you’re going to dig into your bowl of eggs, potatoes, toast, ketchup, apples, with a spoon and a 4 oz tiny mug of weak coffee that you’ll fill again and again
There is also a bustle of mops, of cooks, of laundry, of showers, of people in and out, of people hanging outside and inside and everywhere.
And we aren’t mopping, or cooking, or talking even, we see people
Tapping their feet, and watching as the drum starts kicking the song up a gear, and sometimes
Closing their eyes, sometimes singing along. Mostly just eating, and waiting, waiting for the next
Scheduled event. The strict schedule of the homeless or the nearly so. The waiting for the next scheduled meal at the place that provides lunch, and the knowing the timing necessary to get to the prime locations to sleep. And the waiting. As the music winds down, and the guitar player is called away
to help load a donated washing machine into someone’s eager waiting truck,
a woman hears a song being sung that she knows
and somehow simultaneously shy and bold,
she stands next to the music stand and sings along. We talk a bit after,
she’s got a good voice, the type of surprisingly clear loud diaphragm of a sound
that comes from a tiny, thin body. A body whose age I can’t fully identify, maybe my age, maybe older. I consider her my age. She says that in school she sang in choir,
applied for All-state with an audition, and made it. She was in band.
I ask the instrument. French Horn, she says, but she can’t play anymore.
Too bad, I say. Yes, she says, but I don’t have any of my top teeth, so it’s just impossible.
It’s the first I’ve noticed that she’s right. There are no teeth in the top of the smile.
So we all know what to do next is to simply use the instruments we have left,
and find a song that she can sing. No audition necessary,
but a small one granted anyway as we ask if she knows any songs, and allow her to sing
the best one she knows, the Latin-worded soaring church type of chant song that
again comes from who knows where. This is no audition, this is a taking the instrument out of the case,
and presenting it to the other musicians in the room, and saying,
well, this is what I brought with me.
It doesn’t match., the spoon will be used as a fork, the cup is too small,
and every small move we make is an attempt to fill again and again,
some trust that there is more to be had.

timeline

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