A village hall will chew your sound
and swallow it;
will roll it round like thunder.
speakers that, pointing back at you,
give every note the logic
of a pen on paper.
All we had were instruments;
notes that, you realise later,
had the dull intransigence of mud.
Blood on the pickups,
and your voice its own worst enemy;
each song weighed down
by an acoustic like dull water,
roiled and thickened and abraded,
yes, but don't forget
how you relentlessly expressed
yourself. That thirteen minute
ballad, crafted – grown –
in your bedroom.
All the extremes you went to...
What's the opposite of honing?
at the guitar; rubbing your voice
against the limits of your voice.
Music wielded like a fist,
insisting on the thing the audience
was trying to resist: yourself,
writ large, and larger still,
until the band, all of its gleam
and tilt, had the loud lack
of clarity of a megaphone.
Alan Humm is the editor of One Hand Clapping. You can find more of his writing here.