Friday, July 2, 2010

Concert of Reckoning

So there is a time in every performers life, when you give all the passion your heart can give and the audience remains in another orbit of another star in another galaxy. No matter what you do, you can’t win them over. You study the experience instantaneously as it is happening, trying to gauge what they are thinking. Why they are not reacting like other audiences. What are you doing wrong. How can you do it differently right this second to make it better for them. And when the lights go off, and they go home you beat yourself up over why you failed them and yourself and the music gods.
It has only happened a couple of times in 20 years, but it happened recently and it makes for a messy autopsy of the heart! The second guessing of the career choice. The dismal crushing of any self esteem that may have been lingering in the corners of the mind. “I quit”! I resound! “I’d rather sweep the floor at the mall” I decide. Anything but put heart and soul out in front of people to have it be disrespected.
And then I remember my mantra… ‘a bad day as a musician is better than a good day as a __________(fill in the blank with a desk job, a filthy job, a mindless job, no job)’.
And then it happens… the following day… 90 teenagers we taught dance to, all applaud and tear up when the final dance class is over… I guess I’ll keep going a bit longer…

The Accordion and the Applause

It’s bad enough
Flaunting her under bright lights
Stretching her to her limits
Deflating her in front of gawkers
Allowing my inadequate skills
To blurb obnoxious notes publicly
When she is capable
Of so much more

But the worst sin of all
Exposing her to the glares
Of an unappreciative audience
To torture her with mediocre applause
To put her in her case
Still warm from my hands
Without a single adoring fan

Sheltering her from my reality
I try to carry the weight of it
I analyze and agonize
Theorize and reprise
The slow slicing with rusty blade
Of my own jugular vein
To spare her the bleeding
Always smiling in her presence
So as not to tarnish her pure existence

I dissect their small brains
Put shock paddles to my heart
Give mouth to mouth to my limp musical soul
Take the tourniquet off my nearly amputated
Say the rosary, turn three circles anti-clockwise
Curse Zeus and Batman
And just before I latch the latches
Whisper to her that it’s not her fault
And it will be better
Next time

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