I Could Not Record Today

living-room-corner-09162008-2

I could not record today.
My studio is not soundproof
enough for a city daytime.
Contractors hired by an aspirational
Brooklyn property developer
stamp rumblefooted underpinnings
for a cantilevered condo to be
four times the size of the
sixty year old
two family the developer
demolished a month ago.
The mufflebooms travel
into my rear office studio,
up through my mic stand,
from the sub strata.

On the front side of my apartment,
the back of a post office, across the street.
The carriers often shout at each other
in the loading dock
while jumping
on and off their trucks.
One of them, a man with birdtones,
sings arias from Norma.
As a mechanical gate opens and
closes to let the trucks
in and out, his tenor lends
the gate a mournful movement.

Night will bring challenge, too.
The Bingo Hall on 5th Avenue allows patrons
access to its rear alley abutting
the northern border of my apartment complex.
The alleyway is a de facto back lounge
where winner inksters come out to smoke
and make on-a-lucky-streak joyouts.
The players on losing tails fall off
towards the streetside
exit of the alleyway
and smoke in silence,
as passing headlights echo through
the flickering alleyway’s security gate.

Tomorrow I’m going to mail holiday packages
too long sitting on my dining room table.
I look at the gifts meant to be given,
gifts that people have
no idea they are going to receive.
Procrastination self-inflicts purgatories
between loneliness and connection,
but today I will exorcise this unquiet
into a happy suspension,
as when your partner isn’t talking, and you hear
the soft rustle of a newspaper
and a sweater against a sofa…
things that mean everything,
that you don’t notice,
until you are standing still
or cannot record.

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