by Mike Sherer
“Soft sound caresses the valley/rabbits quiver and run/the virgin trees are awakened/as the Sun Singer sings to the sun.”
I whisper these lyrics to myself. Sitting on my back deck on a brilliant spring day, I bask in the sun I am singing about. I set my six-string aside when the deer family approaches. A confident yet wary doe and her two wobbly fauns. The mother eyes me suspiciously. After assessing I am not a danger as long as I don’t make any sudden moves, the three begin feasting in my flower garden. I don’t mind. They are all perennials, and will return next spring. I’d rather watch these beautiful animals. Competing beauties. You shouldn’t have to choose, but you do.
“I have lost the right to see/my eyes have gone blind/and its kind/not to see the dead fish.”
Funny how your mood affects your songwriting. But then your mood affects everything. It’s like some days you are wearing glasses with the wrong prescription lens. I’m in a darker place. The other half of my flesh tears at me. Uncivil wars. I lay down mine fields, dig moats, erect walls, energize force fields. I am impregnable. I will outlast every siege.
“The color green is extinct/black and grey remain/man’s insane/to think he can survive.”
I don’t remember what started it. Does anyone but dusty historians know what started the Hundred Years War? The Thirty Years War? The Seven Years War? Anyway, hostilities are ongoing. We come together to scream, then withdraw in stony silence. Tense days alone. Sleep-deprived nights, snorting awake between bad dreams that lead to long stretches of wide-eyed darkness. Appetite down. Meals mumbled through. TV programs stared at while muted. Amazing how large a house can get when you search out its distant corners.
“I can no longer care/my soul has said goodbye/and I cry/for a time of softer ways.”
I don’t sing to her anymore. She used to listen to my songs. I can’t place my finger on which song turned her off. If it was a specific song. Maybe something happened to her ears? Her drum was damaged? Or her malleus, incus, or stapes? I can’t recall when the damage might have happened. But she doesn’t want to hear them anymore. So I don’t inflict them on her. They are my own creations, they need go no further than my whispers in the dark. To get Biblical, I will not ‘cast pearls before swine’. I’m fine with that. My pearls will remain en-clammed.
“The morning sun has arisen/bright dew diamonds on everyone/cool clean air blows through the valley/as the Sun Singer sings to the sun.”
The deer family is back. But I am not out on the deck enjoying them. It is raining, so I watch them through the expansive glass of the patio door. The rain doesn’t bother them. They graze among my blooms unbothered. What must that be like? To live an unbothered life, without awareness? But if I did, then I wouldn’t realize it. So maybe I have. Anyway, a temporary truce. We speak, grin. Not quite smile, but grin. We tolerate each other. Once upon a time we liked each other. We share a room while reading our separate books. We are together, but with six feet of separation.
“Skyscrapers lost in the ash clouds/trucks and cars kill as they run/rivers that flow without water/as the Sun Singer sings to the sun.”
My boundaries are wearing down. It’s hard to keep my exterior from seeping through into my interior. I believed my cell wall was strong enough to keep bacteria from invading. Perhaps when I was younger it was, but now it has grown much too permeable. My lyrics devolve to futility. I sit in a cold corner of my silent basement and stare at the immutable bricks while yearning to create something. Anything. I felt justified in withholding my babies. Now justification is nullified when there are only stillbirths.
“Storm clouds roll into the valley/thunder booms like an innocent gun/rain runs down my naked body/as the Sun Singer sings to the sun.”
The deer family is back. The sun is shining. I’m on my deck with my six-string. I whisper to myself, and that is enough. This is good.