The Official Jam of the Summer is the Startup Chime in My Hearing Aids
In a worklife soundworld of mostly whispers
or a golden hour ample of data center serenade,
the shape of an old brand's roadsign is far too
faded to claim. I sat in that chamber thinking
I'd been expertly emperor's-new-clothes'd,
or I was auditioning isolated oscillator tracks
from some unreleased 60s Silver Apples joint. I sat
still saying only yes, but less often than expected,
to some tape hiss. So, when as a child I was shaken
from deep flow; dismissed from pre-K color time
for comforting myself with low dronehums
of childgroan, teachers told me I set the others
off their ideas; out in the hall, half-an-hourish.
Believe me, I kept quiet after that. Decades later
someone clued me on how to E.Q. in worlds of tiny
foci, how not to drown a larger one out. Someone
told me it rests in a jar. Listen, remember what
a delicate kind of feeling it is, a sense of fresh distance
if only from within. I didn't; hadn't tried. There's a new
chime in to hide the old, to secret-share, a couple
of tubes to hover together, to stem the lemniscate.
Comedown Music (for a Radio Shack billboard)
Good plans involve umbrellas, the ones you can almost see
from space. To subvert sabotage, you must remove your anorak
& drop your finely-tooled valise among the loose bolts & vise
grips on that bench. Sweep away the wire ends & all the tiny
batteries, spent & caustic from their ceaseless policing
of byzantine circuits, ambitious to prove anything. For real.
Either you’re airgapped or someone’s keyed up a beautiful
realtime heatmap, exhaustively hatereading your lived experience.
Only one’s true. When you look up at nothing, thumb your fingers
& maybe struggle with the time zone conversion. Back then
you might have had some luck with background-colored
keywords to shift the true aboutness of your thing. You tricked
them into finding you. Go deep into the final wordcount
of your soul to understand the blunt way we text each other now.
My point is, someone under the city is super pissed. Look at actual
distance. Look repressed. O, how it downplays the other you.
Comedown Music (for an indexical)
What you thought of this morning
when you first realized you were awake.
A tiny model of your childhood home
on display in another room of your current
home. A couple of things left out on your desk.
Where she was standing when you last said
her name aloud. The feeling you had when
the worst lie you ever told that was exposed
was exposed. The feeling when you told it.
Tell it again, quietly. The portrait you chose
when last asked to provide one. You open
my junk mail: it is addressed to you.
Comedown Music (for a casket)
The first stage of mourning
is the having someone die.
The second & third are usually
the packing or the unpacking,
in which ever order makes
most sense. You learn new words
for the almost-familiar things
you discover: a Land camera;
a fez; a blackjack—no, a sap.
Imagine those secreted Seconals
hidden in a mattress slit, a silent
mass just festering. Imagine what
pain lingered there, earning them.
Maybe you told yourself you'd eat
them once you'd begun to feel
the bulge through the sheets, just
before anyone notices, before
anyone moves you to change them.
Maybe you told yourself They'll
learn new words from this.
PATRICK WILLIAMS is a poet and academic librarian living in Central New York. His recent work appears in publications including Noble/Gas Qtrly, Reality Beach, Third Point Press, and Heavy Feather Review. His chapbook "Hygiene in Reading" was released by Publishing Genius this year. He edits Really System, a journal of poetry and extensible poetics. Find him at patrickwilliamsintext.com and on Twitter @activitystory.