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Symphony Number Eleven

(Saint Petersburg, 1905)

    Adagio: The Palace Square.

Cold and quiet the crowd of cellos
gathers like snow in the clouds,
menace of timpani rumble,
an earthquake beneath the square,
a call of brass from some distant place.

    Allegro: The Ninth of January.

A restlessness of burning violins,
a swirling blizzard, a sudden riot
of snare drums like gunfire,
timpani horses thunder,
to the march and clash of gleaming brass,
a panic of piccolos and woodwinds.

    Adagio: Eternal Memory

A bent mother searches among the thump of drums
in the quiet dark of deserted streets,
picks through remnants of shattered violas,
crushed bass clarinets and trampled flutes
for her son, the harpist, who lies frozen,
stretched over the splintered carcass
of his wrecked and ruined instrument.

    Adagio non troppo: Tocsins

Tocsins toll in the churches,
a call in resilient G minor,
call to a future of violent trumpets,
trombones, cymbals of power, tubular bells,
celesta and strings but, for now,
the music is tacet in the square.

Symphony No. 11, OP 103 D. Shostakovich

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a week's worth

I wish I could tell you which ones are important.
I know you’d say the same, if you could.
It’s cyclic, and it doesn’t really matter,
but it doesn’t stop the sensation, all the same.
Repetition is our creature of habit,
not the source, but the product.
We paint the ceiling with metaphors and French songs,
or Moon River from the balcony, a couple generations back.
We’re absolved of love or whatever
cynicism we use to disregard our absolution. 

It’s cold, and everything is frozen over
but it feels like spring in regards to days past:
You’re lifting up from yourself
and flying away, one body still on the ground,
the other, five feet up and looking down at the same thing you are.
And it doesn’t matter which one is you.
And which one is not.
We can’t all choose significance;
Such is the sense in negation.


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The Exhausted Optimist

Don't you see? You see, wanting is the death of having. And no, it's not a pretty death.

Don't be ridiculous. Nothing's pretty until somebody makes it up. If only with their eyes.

How many dreamers have you met in life? How many romantics have you come across? How many projects, plans, and perfect days have been just across the next horizon? How many wadded-up pricks of paper line your pockets? Be honest now. None isn't as sad as several. Let me explain.

What sane kind of creature makes their fingers bleed? Who writhes and swears and throws things with real value over something half-imagined and half-overheard? Who cries at songs, for what they say, but for the words in them that they have to just pretend to understand? Do you? I'm sorry.

I'm not sorry if you don't, though. There's dying ugly, and there's dodging life. Tomorrow, will you? Today, will you buy little notebooks and a few dozen more guitar picks? Yesterday, did you go to bed with a full belly and an empty page or two? Did you set goals? Were you reasonable? Well?

Wanting and not doing is so much easier than trying and failing. This is already known.

Wanting and losing is so much easier than failing again. Again. Again. This is no surprise.

So do. And do. And do until the day you die. You may not even once, not even once manage a damned thing. But you'll die with full pockets and fingers that feel good to the raspy touch.

Want will eat you alive. It has. It will. Too bad.

Bite back while you can.

Prompt: hourlywritingprompts:

Writing prompt of the hour: desire

He said to himself, projects on the afterburner. Because it's not the block, but the silence after...

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Send me prompts, questions, feedback, or anything. I'll be here.

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And a One, Two, Three, Four...


There's a satisfaction, really, when you're done up to the nines. Everybody cleans up pretty.

It's not the fabric or the wingtips, not the tie clips or the silver cigarette holders. It's the swish and sway. It's the beauty in the beat. It's in the heart when it slides past your sleeves or just  over that neckline. That's the color red to me - it's wine red, blood red, ruby red and lips all over.

I wash away the hesitation and the half-alives. I smoke out the stubborn feeling that no one or everyone is looking at me. Sure they are, who wouldn't be? Of course they're not; we're all fabulous down here. It's a shift in perspective, a hue strip over the floodlights overhead. When I see things in the color crimson, the other colors aren't so harsh after all. Hell, I'm harsher.

I taste the grit of an oncoming depression, sometimes, but not when the music plays - there's no grays or white or robin's-egg blues when I hit the street lights of the late nights, not my stage lights. There's only screaming golden saxophones and trumpets blowing brass into a storm. None of the sick, green gasps of dirty pollen nor her mold-green, greedy eyes. Depression dies.

When I go red, I only have eyes for me. But I've got words for you, a few minutes of a song. I've got a piano-man behind me and a sweet kid on the sticks and toms. I'm ready. You're hot. Get steady. 

Cuz when I go red, I go black. When I go black, even the devil steps back.

Prompt: thedailywritingprompts:

Writing Prompt 170

The color red infuses me with the power of…

Jazz, apparently. Smooth, classic, and sexy jazz. Gods, I need to hit the clubs again. Maybe even learn to dance...?

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Rhythm and Prose: Poe

(Prompt: Ulraviolet by ~MythNymph, via A Writer's Inspiration. I had a moment of existential disgust after watching the worse section of the fandomverse drool over questions of rape and 'eventual' consent. So I worked out my still-not-published-author issues in the usual way...)

With a flicker of her eyelashes, the lights went low. With a tapping of her fingertip, the box started to blow. She loved the way their scintillating eyes drew in the elevating amplifiers waiting in the wings for her to go.

And so... she it flow.

A word, a rhythm and a beat manifest, hit their chests like a bullet and nobody bought a vest. In come lyrics, a message wrapped in narrative and metaphor, her heart and soul erected into rhyme.

Over time, she sets the record straight, she puts her sorrow on the screen and digitized sensations into syncopated screams. She redefines her time of tragedy and cuts it into dreams. She checks her baggage with her luggage, making music with a theme.

But here's the scene.

In the back or at the bottom of the pack, there's a buster, breathing heavy, getting worked up on her raps. Where she sings sorrows of abuses, he gets flickers on his fuses. It infuses him with feelings contradicting all of that.

And in his mind? His way is fact.

Well, look at that. People are crap.

But did she stop her movement methods? Did she recoil from him in shame? Did she feel sick at the sensation of his eyes upon her frame? Of course it bugged her as he body-mugged her, drooling at her style, but all the while, she kept the rhythm rocking, locked in on her music files.

He doesn't own her fucking music. Or her body. Or her fuses. She made lyrics for the needy. She made beauty with her muses. And in the end, it's us who chooses if we hear her or his lies. She'd made her palace from her burning truth. Will you open your eyes?

She welcomes you. So come on through.

It's just the haters we despise.

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Impressions of an Impressionist


Live Music


I wish that I could go to live

In the music of Debussy

And be where even stormy clouds

Are lined with tranquility.


There surely is contentment there,

On shores of a moonstruck sea

Where adults engage in elegant games,

And treat their children exquisitely.


Every season’s an isle of joy

And springtime most of all.

When natives dance a bergamask

When they hear birds’ syrinx call.


Starcrossed summer mornings

Yield to afternoons of delight,

And sweet confections indulged afloat

Beneath the stars at night.


Winter evenings reveries

Are by the light of the moon,

While snow dances as it falls

And always falls in tune.


I long to go to this place and be

Deeply impressed by beauty,

This place where sensitivity

Is a citizen’s principle duty.


And if there ever came a time

When I had had enough,

I’d move on to another place

Like Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff.


                                           Chris Brockman

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Sunshine lips
A kiss of molten gold
A taste of summer
In liquid form
Fluid as the wind
Flowing over our skin
Fingerprints enfolded
Together like petals
Impressed forever
In veins and grooves
The bones of trees
That whisper poetry To the rippling breeze
A silent shiver
Through brittle timber
In simple harmony
The sun, the moon
My lover, and me

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so subtle the transformation

from peon to poet

with new regard

for rhythm and rhyme...

when did our retellings

become a minuet of words

it sounds absurd

a metronome

has made our head its home

iambic footfalls

echo in our hearts

so often wake to musings in the dark


used, Edwardian words

like "thou" and "thee

and 'neath or 'tween

or ere and o'er

when was it we began to

sense the shape

of words well told

the emphatic use and place

"italics" - "bold"

like a blushing bride

white linen, ready,

awaits our words - our soul

to bleed black word by word

phrase by phrase

used sparingly




done masterfully

to give our stories

color, character, charisma

no longer just a tale well told –

life by the letter

but a symphony of sound

and you – “ Maestro"

pen poised

an orchestra of words


waiting to spring forth

in orgasmic passion

with each purposeful stroke

of your baton



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Song of the Silk Road

A string of caravans makes its way ponderously across the Karakum Desert. The weary thuds of the horses’ hooves fall in time with the sleepy nods of the riders. Even the warriors – the ones paid to protect the merchants – are affected by the scorching heat. They are heading to the nearby oasis, hoping to reach it before nightfall.

They will never reach their destination.

The bandit leader is on the top of the sand dune, knowing that the travellers will not look up. Even if they do, it’ll be too late.

He heads back and looks at his band. They are a motley crew, browned by the sun and hardened by their greed. On their necks lie gold chains, taken from previous victims. Clinking together, they weave a battle melody as the bandits prepare themselves. Tonight, more chains will join the song.

Horses thunder out from behind sand dunes. The warriors curse and scrabble for weapons. The merchants moan at their ill fortune. Their wives shrink into corners of their caravans.

The war-cries of the bandits and the pleas of their victims fill the air. But the desert falls silent once more as the sands take in their bloody meal.

The bandit leader strides from caravan to caravan, inspecting the goods. He pays no attention to the corpses sprawled around him. The loot is the only thing that matters.

Upon opening a caravan door, he is surprised when a young girl leaps out at him, brandishing a knife. Unskilled, she is disarmed quickly. The bandit leader surveys her.

The girl cannot be more than nine summers old. Her hands are soft yet her fingertips have calluses, the rewards of playing a string instrument. There is no fear or grief in her eyes, only hatred. The girl is strong.

He decides to keep her.

Slinging her over his shoulder, he does not notice the blows that fall on his back nor the shrill squeals of indignity that break the desert’s silence once more.


The bandit leader, along with the screaming girl and his band, soon reach the caves and haul the spoils inside. Even the girl is silenced – temporarily - by the amount of treasure that glitters inside the caves.

There are dates and nuts, taken from the merchants of Persia. Frankincense and myrrh lie on the right, snatched from the traders of Somalia. Logs of sandalwood are piled at the back, plundered from the foreigners of India. And there is the silk, the cause of all these opportunities for fortune. They shimmer in the dim light, beckoning and cooing. Men have lost their lives to obtain these bolts of fabric. The cache hidden in the depths of the dark cave sparkle and purr in harmony, whispering, “Come” and little are the men who can resist their charms.

The bandit leader strides to his quarters and puts the girl down. She ignores him and instead inspects her surroundings. In the corner, a liuqin sits. It is of good quality – obviously ripped from some travelling musician’s hands. The girl picks up the lute. Shifting her hands so that the pear-shaped instrument is balanced, the girl gingerly strikes a note. A pure sound echoes up and down the caves.

Slowly at first, then picking up the pace, the girl lets her fingers fly over the strings, plucking a mournful song – a tune for the dead people who have died today. 

The bandit leader listens to the melody with a slight pang in his heart. He has heard the song before and plays it often – he has lost companions too. The child is exceedingly good. He settles his chin on his hands and immerses himself in the heartbreaking harmony.


Every day, the girl plays a different tune for the bandit leader. Some are merry, others forlorn. Some are foreign to his ears, others remind him of his old life.

After she finishes, the bandit leader is subjected to her scrutiny. Every day, she sighs and turns away. When he asks why, she answers, “I wanted to see if you were ready to learn the Song of the Silk Road.”


Tonight, the bandit leader leans back against the wall of the cave and gestures for the girl to start.

Her hands in position, she starts to strum a well-known folk song. Her fingers pull and release with practiced ease and send the chords resonating through the caves. Her hands dance up and down the lute and so, too, does the melody. It sails out, a net of happiness, and catches the bandit leader unawares. Yet something pricks the back of his mind, pushing a long-forgotten memory forward. He is sure he knows the tune…

A village woman sits on a crudely fashioned bed, humming gently as she brushes her son’s hair. The boy’s eyes are half-closed, relishing the soft touch…

The boy is running, feet slapping the ground in a fast tempo. Into the fields he flies, stopping only when he sees a muscled man. His father turns and roars in delight. They pad off home, singing boisterously…

In the hut, the woman plays a liuqin, crooning in dulcet tones. The father joins in, a deep bass and their voices soar, twining around each other. The father gestures at his son and the boy lets his voice loose. The music spins around and around the hut, bouncing off the walls, surrounding the family, binding them together in the Song of Love...

It is a long time before the bandit leader realizes that the girl has stopped playing. He touches his face wonderingly and feels the wetness underneath his finger. He looks up at the girl. For the first time, she is smiling.


They sit on top of a sand dune. The bandit leader is puzzled as to why the girl insists that he must learn the Song of the Silk Road but tonight he has been reminded of a long-forgotten song and is feeling amicable.

“Close your eyes… listen...”

The girl is already positioned, eyes shut off from the world but with her mind and her ears wide open, ready to receive the Song of the Silk Road.

The bandit leader is cautious as to closing his eyes; it goes against his most primary instincts. But in the end, he forces himself to relax and listen.


He can hear nothing.

Sitting there, he wonders how long they have sat already. Surely it has only been minutes but it feels like several summers. He can feel his mind settling, as if about to enter a deep sleep.


The wind rustles through the sand.


The bandit leader hears.


The wind hums. The bird calls. The cat howls. The snake hisses.

Was this the Song of the Silk Road?


Shhing. Ahhhhhh!!!!! Sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Splaaaa!!! AIEEEEE!!!!


The bandit leader hears, his ears open to the Song of the Silk Road. In his mind, the swords unsheathe. The victims cry. The blades slash. The blood spurts. The bandits roar.

The bandit leader wants to open his eyes, and close his ears. He can do neither. He cannot tear himself away from the bloody images because he knows that he has lived this before.

The music changes suddenly, a river diverted from its true course, flowing from melody to melody.

Come…Touch us…We can give you so much…Come…

The silk croon. The scents tempt. The wood whispers. The silk murmurs again.

Come… sing with us…

The bandit leader forgets the other melody of the Silk Road. He can only hear the silk singing. Treasure. Wealth. Power. The words boom in his head.


As if she can sense the shift in his mind, the girl suddenly brings out the liuqin and plays on it a simple, familiar tune. The bandit stiffens.

A woman hums. Two people warble. Three people sing.

The Song of Love… The Song of the Silk Road…

A woman hums. Shhaaaa. Come. Splaaaa!!! Three voices soar. Come.


The bandit leader’s eyes fly open. He is panting. Again, tears stain his cheeks. He buries his face in his hands. He has learned the Song of the Silk Road, or perhaps, he had learned the Song of the Silk Road long ago but had only just started understanding it. It is a tune so different from the Song of Love. Composed by greed and malice, its lyrics sing of blood and gore. Yet…


He stands up, not meeting the girl’s eyes. The girl does not say anything. There is nothing to say.

He cannot give up the Song of the Silk Road.


A string of caravans makes its way ponderously across the Karakum Desert. A girl no more than ten summers old runs out from behind a sand dune, a liuqin strapped to her back. The caravans stop. The girl boards.

On top of the sand dune, the bandit leader looks down, knowing that the travelers will not look up.


Copyrighted 2011

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The most depressing part of my day occurs when I’m doing something that I love to do.

Every day I stumble across something new musically. Through the aid of Pandora, blogs, news, hearsay & my due diligence in finding what I need to keep going, I am constantly surprised by the quality of certain tracks and their beauty.

So what’s the problem? I’m constantly finding little gems hidden throughout society. I understand this is subjective, but I’d like to think I have enough experience to be able to pick out melodically sound compositions & above average production value. Whether that is true is not for me to say but I try my best. Regardless, the key word here is “hidden.”

Once a night I am intrigued to learn about an artist. Or even just the song itself. I’m mesmerized by what they did & how they put together this piece of art. So I go searching. Most of the time I can find something on the artist or the track. Random songs do not get submitted to Pandora without a bit of screening.

For the times I don’t find much on them, I continue to dig further. I check Discogs for information about what they have done. Once in a while I will stumble across a Wikipedia page about the artist. One with no links or any information about the individual(s) that created this work. Vague references to what they’ve done. Maybe a 100x100 thumbnail of the album artwork from 2001.

It pains me to hear something that strikes such an intense chord and then fail to find more information about it. Did this go overlooked? Is it just me who enjoys this? Why didn’t this get bigger than it did? Was it ahead of its time? Was it too late for its time?

I want to find these people, physically shake them with my hands and tell them, “You are amazing. You are amazing at what you do. I am so sorry.”

And yet, I have to turn on the radio and listen to the same 20 songs on rotation for weeks. And weeks.

I know this will come off as condescending even when I don’t mean it to be. I just wish that people could open their eyes to the wonders that are out there. I wish they could see what others have seen. I wish people would stop letting music be delivered to them aimlessly, but rather help the cause and find it yourself. I would even say that I wish that everyone cared more, but this is naturally a false hope that cannot & should not be enforced. The joy it brings me is overwhelming and I just want to share it.

Moral of the story: If I have to fucking hear “Starships” one more time by Nicki Minaj, I’m going to drink bleach.