Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 14-ish: Tension, Release


Tension, Release

Knees and elbows quiver
knobby and sharp
along the starting line,
weapons poked from skinny bodies.

A pistol bangs;
bodies spring while it echoes,
lingers in the air with
distant shouts and wafting sweat.

A multicolored mass
two hundred wide
funnels to narrow aperture;
angry grunts rise over skin-smacks.

Sprint slows to trot;
feet shuffle, hop,
stomp the torn turf,
bounce side to side,

steer toward a crevice
only the scrawny could fit,
launch through the crack,
and burst free.


My college jazz director claimed that all music, regardless of genre, is built on tension and release, on building dissonance that drives toward and yields inevitably to consonance.  To me, this describes how music reflects life, in that the peace or euphoria of release rise from the tensions that precede it.

The metaphor I chose here came rom experience.  My favorite cross country race in high school was not the fastest I ran, and in fact it came my freshman year, when I was running with no expectation that I might contribute meaningfully to my team.  The race was designed to funnel quickly from the starting line to a narrow path, such that all but the fastest starters were quickly hemmed in.  From here came a mile-long struggle to just find an opening, one that had me and most of my fellow runners surging with angst until that opening came.

The focus here is the tension and build.  I tried to use active verbs to describe the force exerting itself within that bottled-up position, describing almost a desperate energy waiting to be let out, right up until the moment of escape.  This also keeps the poem short, a compact piece with stray long lines to reflect the almost claustrophobic experience.

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