Failure in Concrete (writing from 2003)

(Failure in Concrete)
September 10, 2003

In my failure at something complex I have failed at something simple.

The sound of a trumpet pours out of a blue on blue on gray.
It scales the concrete wall and curves ninety degrees back to the original side, Meandering between the sound of two freeways that were never built
Their traffic filling the space between the mist.

From cracks in the wall grow weeds
Resplendent in their perfect arrangements of red and green
A single tree rises above from the other side of the wall
Casting its shadow in the shadow under the shadow

North of the tree
Towards the park
A woman in red not red but red slightly pink
I know that she is British
Yet I have no way of knowing that from just an image
I think this is odd
And then she is gone
(Another victim of the tireless work of the censor)

Two blocks south of the wall
Away from the park
Is another wall
It is not concrete
It cannot be seen
But it cannot be crossed
I can see through it

The houses on the other side are the same as the houses on this side
The cars a similar mix of late 1990’s models
Parked halfway on the curb as is the custom of this land

I see what I must do on the other side
But I cannot go through the wall
I do not have the energy to walk around it
It must stretch from highway to the ocean

They play what I write
Not what I hear
Sometimes I hear nothing

© 2003 Amar Chaudhary

Car Doors (April 17, 2003)

I heard a car door slam shut, and then another and then another. It seems to me too many car doors to be shutting at the moment, but I suppose eight o’clock in the evening is a good time to close a car door. Some cars, of course, have more than one door that may need to be closed, particularly if they have more than one occupant, or just a lone person retrieving an item from the other side of the car, as I often do. Still, it seems like a lot of car doors being shut.

There are supposedly one hundred and fifty million cars in use in the United States at this time. There are approximately thirty-one million seconds in a year. If each car had only one of its doors shut once every year, that would be about five doors being shut per second. A quintuplet at sixty beats per minute. Cars generally have between two and six doors, which subdivides and complicates the rhythm, perhaps a theka that does not land evenly on a quarter-note-based meter. Of course, the number of times each door on each car is shut has such enormous variance that all we are left with is noise. But noise has its own rhythm, a soft steady continuum that swells and ebbs, forming a multitude of short pulses in between stronger beats, waves whose strongest crests occur at mid morning and mid evening. Pulse, beat, meter and form arising from millions of independent actions, happening without their actors aware of one another but nonetheless connected.

I heard a car door slam shut becoming water and the water became music.