Pisa

Pisa

The village people knew

it was not a matter of if,

but a matter of when,

the tower would fall,

its wind-bleached columns

buckling at the knees

under the crushing weight of

its lofty belfry, which looked

out over the Piazza dei Miracoli

—the square of miracles.

 

Having stood in sturdy silence

for centuries, the spiral staircase

stretched its spine

enjoying the pop

of each stony vertebra until

the seventh story struck the ground

in a glorious, groaning backbend.

 

The nearby Cathedral of Pisa

didn’t approve of the acrobatics.

No self-respecting campanile

dreams of calisthenics.

What would the village people think?

 

But it didn’t matter what

the they would think.

With grating blocks in shifting stacks,

and stairs and capitals

and fissuring cracks,

the dust flew up,

then settled down, there

in pieces all around,

the parts of Pisa

on the ground.

 

Peace and Pisa on the ground.

-M.M.

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Painting With

 

wind

 

Painting With

 

I don’t like the yellow wind—

all hot and rough, brittle,

fond of sawdust and spinning.

I much prefer the blue wind

that caresses and smooths,

sweeping away the sweat

and the afternoon.

The white wind keeps me up

at night, echoing in my

teeth and unsettling my bones

like salt from the north.

But, the black wind has my respect.

It moves methodically

the wheel of the seasons,

steering a massive rumble reckless

as the other winds bow in silence.

Then it gathers fragments,

scoops them into piles, and

draws closed the bag of time

spun out, till it all but disappears.

 

-M.M.

 

Speak

fullsizerender

 

Speak

 

They say the walls can feel

the hands that built them,

hewed them out of stone,

that the stones remember the songs

they sang when they thought

they were alone, and

nobody was listening.

 

They remember the way they

cursed when they accidentally

chipped off too much, or

hammered a thumb red.

 

The stones even remember the

sun and the moon,

the way it felt to be

illuminated from above.

 

The walls don’t speak much,

but when they do they

carry prayers.

 

When a hymn floats up

from the assembled below

they pass it on,

and pass it on.

 

The stones know that

when you’re praying in the forest

when nobody’s around

the trees may not notice,

but heaven hears the sound.

 

The walls say the hands can feel

the hands that built them.

Hands and walls

Like echoes in a cathedral.

 

-M.M.

Aux

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Aux

 

First, cords like brambles

crammed in the crevasse

between the wall and the

entertainment center.

 

Second, the wire brigade

with their plug diagnostics

and electrical metering,

mapping the genome of the

audio-visual interface.

 

Then, the ground crew techies

with their bundles and rolls

of electrical tape and

outlet covers, bristling

with manuals and warnings

for parents about children

—batteries not included.

 

All for the finale flip

of the switch, the

glorious gentle glow

of the stirring screen

alive.

 

Oh, the auxhilaration!

 

-M.M.

Triangle

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Triangle

 

He

built it

triangled:

three                    He

sides and                   said it

three corners.        ought to work.

So                               my                             and

I pieced                        own 3                     dubbed it

   Together                       vertices                             Try-angle.

-M.M.

Carillon Improv

carillonbyu
Centennial Tower — BYU Carillon

A carillon is a large musical instrument that is kept in a bell tower. The carillon has bells of various sizes that can be played with a manual [keyboard] of batons arranged like a piano keyboard or an organ manual. A friend took me on a tour of the Centennial Tower carillon at Brigham Young University and I had the opportunity to play it. Below is a video of my improv, which should help you understand how the instrument works. I decided to improv in a minor key because the top of each bell is tuned to a different pitch than the bottom. This causes notes to ‘sour’ (explaining why so much of carillon music sounds dissonant and spooky). I decided it would be lean into the bells’ natural creepiness and have fun in a minor key.

 

-M.M.