Monday, August 10, 2009

Three-Note Song

The psyche must be at its most vulnerable between two and four a.m.  I sort of woke up at 3:36 a couple of night ago, and in my soporous state I gradually became aware of a vibration in my chest that centered around my heart and then jiggled up my throat; you know when a musical note is so low that it’s felt more than heard—like that.  I was confused.  I’d never been woken up by internal oscillations before.  And my first thought wasn’t I’m having a heart attack or Earthquake!  The first thing in my head was Someone's playing an organ under my bed. 

I lay there a little longer and realized that I wasn’t totally wrong: it was music.  Three notes repeating.  But it wasn’t coming from my room or anywhere in my house or even on my block.  It was coming from miles away, maybe from somewhere in the Bay, maybe a foghorn, but it wasn’t, because foghorns are always that same flat sad sound, and this thing had a melody. 

I was so tired that the best I could do was crawl over to the window and stick my head out a little to listen.  And I thought all kinds of strange thoughts about torture, and how all it takes to break someone’s mind is: force them to listen to a three-note song for a long time.  I wrote a story in my head about musical torture, a la A Clockwork Orange, except totally different.   Now I’m trying to transfer the story from brain to fingers to keyboard to page, and it’s like trying to remove a model ship from a narrow necked bottle—I want to take the whole thing out in one go but instead I have to be patient and disassemble it with tweezers and pluck it out piece by piece and then it won’t come back together again as whole, the way it’s supposed to, goddammit. 

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