Anthony Walton


in memoriam Thelonious Monk
You have to be able to hear past the pain, the obvious
minor-thirds and major-sevenths, the merely beautiful
ninths; you have to grow deaf to what you imagine
are the sounds of loneliness; you have to learn indifference
to static, and welcome noise like rain, acclimate
to another kind of silence; you have to be able to sleep
in the city, taxis and trucks careening through your dreams
and back again, hearing the whines and sirens and shrieks
as music; you must be a mathematician, a magician
of algebra, overtone and acoustics, mapping the splintered
intervals of time, tempo, harmony, stalking or sluicing blues
scales; you have to be unafraid of redundance, and aware
that dissonance-driven explorations of dissonance
may circle back to the crowded room of resolution;
you have to disagree with everything except the piano, black
and white keys marking the path you must climb step
by half-step with no compass but the blues, no company
but your distrust of the journey, of all that you hear, of arrival.

Anthony Walton
Dissidence first appeared in River Styx, 47, 1996.