Fixed a couple of show-stop typos, moved a stanza.
Ringing Out (I’m Nervous I’m Too Good at This)
Thank God my mentor taught me cold and stupid. Hadn’t ever had to call out frequencies by ear. This was how he instructed me.
Push mic volume till feedback. Stew in stenographic pain as mentor listens, calls out: 5K. Swing arm to graphic equalizer: fifty bricked vertical lines piercing two parallel horizons. Each vertical a small field of hertz. Scan lines.
Too slow. Mic speaks louder. Piercing sound-pressure pikes push against eardrums, poised to puncture. Scan again. Faster. Finger finds frequency’s cradling swath. Finesse fader down. There is still a ringing. Brain pinches ear: Cut mic.
Mentor moves hand off ears. “Again. But this time,” staccatos up to sound board, “mute once I call it.” Repeat till sound ceases ouroboros with mic live.
Couldn’t catalog the countless times I drowned in the sea of problem frequencies before my limbs learned the righting way to thrash, kept me vertical, head between ceiling and feet. Eventually compiled frequentest problem freaks in gut-kept list. Eventually listed notes for each note listed. Eventually only listened for nuance: If W problem, X and Y and Z as well.
Thank God I learned how to ring out speakers first. All I risked was hearing. Nothing close to center-structure blowout. Only wish I had known this sooner: Emotions simply frequencies sounding outward from body core.
Maybe the Big Grief wouldn’t have collapsed me concave like controlled demo. But maybe I wouldn’t have bothered with the bone-up on translating cilia-sensed sound to sound conducted through bone. Wouldn’t have documented how it sloughs through stomach’s swamp, ripples relentless rebound.
Eventually, evolved this process:
Hold hand to gut where new problem emotion sticks like a hot rivet. With free hand, grab stethoscope. Slide scope’s cool compact disc across belly to build noise floor. Scooch steth to where first hand holds guard. Freeze when the emotion sounds through scope.
Close eyes. Listen. Match vocal cord to chord sounding in ear. Hum harmful harmony in multimillisecond interrogation. Feel how hertz rattle throat. Turn to emotional equalizer. If ring familiar, find existing notch at note’s root and widen cut. If tone new, find tone’s band on equalizer, pull down volume before it can wedge itself in like molly in sheetrock seam.
Sharper tones hound the head. Mids push chest, pull calves. Lows most dangerous: crumble the core’s core. Even muted lows can still dropkick kidney, lacerate liver. But lows forces cannot force themselves to be felt every time: silenced high-end sibilance and blocked-out boxy mids clear the neighborhood.
Once, in the endless stretching infinities threading blink’s birth to blink’s demise, the Big Grief gonged a wrong resonance, shredded the shoddy spot welds that melded my panels together. Undone by a musical progression cut off before it got home.
So I started notching out the aching resonances. Can’t hear the unsounding note, can’t ramshackle rattle to resonance that can’t resound. Only costs muted music and unsharp speech, locks in sea-sunk vault recordings of what heart hummed in superior years. Still far cheaper than rebuild. I’m still paying interest on that Once.