Polyphony//If Only

were my modern day manifestation
of the lyrics of “A Kiss To Build A Dream On” by Louis Armstrong.
I sang it so much that it defeated time and my grandparents caught on
and told me with twinkling eyes
that it was their favourite song.

So stop by and play me for a minute because the dust lays thick
and I think that I’m trapped inside a time signature –
four beats to the bar and some demi semi quavers
to stave off fading age limitations
and how old we are or seemed to be
embraces timelessness –
like music, age is redefined
in the abandonment of time’s uses and
improvisation, that’s the closest life gets to breaking free from our cages
to stop checking our watches and to look each other in our faces
so let 4/4 flow towards the end of this show
and off into the freedom of the completely unknown.

And repping my grandparent’s nostalgia
for when their notes were new
and their bass clef met the treble and tremolo triggered the blues
I’m stepping out to put myself in the path of the people
who disregard the counting of years
the people who draw the light bulbs above great ideas
those who scribble in the margins and whisper plot twists in my ears
and because Satchmo says that creativity starts with a kiss
I set out to find love, collecting lucky pennies in my cheeks
and I found some kids who can scat the colours of the rainbow
who weave patterns in the reeds and
read books beneath the branches of olive trees bearing fruit
I come to you open and ask for a kiss before you leave me
‘cause I believe in love for every encounter no matter how brief and
I wanted you to understand that my mother
who misses nearly every beat
holds carefully onto banister railings when she walks down stairs
and for that reason alone, I want to betray society for a moment
and say what I’m not meant to say
because time is suffocating
– you make my chest hurt.

Not my heart, because heart’s break with syncopation
but chests, they contract like a dying star
like diminution right before augmentation
waiting, clenched tight for the present moment to pass
but it’s this moment that I want to fracture, to reach in and grasp
like when the needle jumps, skipping and dipping into tunes
turn the record over baby ‘cause time hides in bald spots
in wombs and in thinning lips
time ticks for imagination, for dreams and for the ability
to run really fast through fields of green and if time stopped
and decided this planet’s life was up then none of the façade
this infrastructure of society would mean a thing
we’d be free to speak
and be plagued with love
and love would fuel our pride as cities burned
and we’d realise that we spent so long hiding behind niceties
that we missed the turn off to enlightenment
but if we live right now I think we can be immune.

As breath comes short standing face to face in a damp room
together in inappropriate circumstances, circumnavigating our tombs
breath into me
play me and say that you cannot grant me this kiss
as Louis sings, scratchy from a distant gramophone
and use the returning breath of mine to pump blood to your limbs
and walk right out of this cyclone of library books
and love notes and those coloured beads you thread onto bicycle wheel spokes
walk away and try forget how our eyes in deafening silence spoke
of inceptions.

Or don’t.
‘Cause I always imagined my life with a soundtrack
the ability to rewind back and decipher the subliminal
you said they always save the best song for when the credits roll
if I sing the melody and break the rules you’ve only got a fraction
of a beat to either harmonize or clash the cymbals of a fool
I’m choosing to ignore the inferno to focus on a mere individual so
give me a kiss to build a dream on, and my imagination’ll
collect each layer of texture
weave our notes together
and ad-lib love into an electrical storm
treat me like I deserve more
or maybe
as indecisive as the variations on a song
once again please pass me by, live your life like we’re told and be gone.