Street Music

The apparent sounds of the city,
or what we imagine them to be,
deceiving the naïve passer-by,
burying the music of the streets.
That real music that reveals the truth.
Silence to the average untuned ear
yet painful noise to those who want to hear.
Underneath the always dismal and depressing,
iron trusses of the elevated trains
where no sun ever shines, nor ever will.
A needle crashing silently on concrete
or in the muffled trash of things abandoned,
lots, houses, storefronts, factory doors,
refuges to their lonely, forgotten comrades.
Falling from limp hands made numb
following that whoosh of junk escaping
syringes and of air filling the emptiness.
A futile euphoria filling the desperation,
all searing screams of pain from voiceless souls,
harmonizing with a woman’s pathetic call
‘want to party, handsome’ dropping to her knees.
You can’t hear it because you’re deaf
but it echoes her poor lost child at home.
A menagerie of unspoken cries beneath
the surface of what we wish were melodic sounds.
Only discordant music we cannot bear.

Sullen eight year olds that hardly speak
forgotten, left behind before their even born.
Shell shocked by the only music they know
the street music of violence and pain.
The very air, every breath, pungent
threatening, filled with anxious dread.
You won’t hear it but there it screams
leaving these little angels deaf and dumb
forbidden from ever being human again.
Street music, the real music of the streets,
like a pied piper that leads them on,
never to escape their cursed fate
of birth, of geography, of time.
Trapped in a world unlike ours,
apart, where different rules apply.
Being born with the sounds of
rumbling elevated trains, sirens,
shouts of anger, grief and pain,
broken bottles and broken souls
from the cradle to the grave.

F. Henderson is a life long activist for social justice and more recently a poet. Read other articles by F..