Never Begin to Sing (3)
November 4, 2017
One in a series subtitled 10 Prose Poems about Sound by HILOBROW friend Damon Krukowski. Republished with the author’s permission from the 2004 collection The Memory Theater Burned (Turtle Point).
At the Café Detroit
They came to me and said, old man, we want you to sing your songs for us again, everyone has forgotten them. But I said: If everyone has forgotten them, how do you know you want to hear them? I am old and tired of singing for those who do not care. But they continued: We remember the subjects of the songs, we remember the feelings of the songs, we just cannot remember their details. Please sing us your songs again. But I said: If you remember the subjects and the feelings, that is enough, the rest is for an old man to take to his grave. But they protested: Old man, we loved your music when you were young, and we were children. Our parents loved your music, but now they are dead. We want our children to hear it. You must sing for us again. I was moved, but I knew what lay ahead, so still I resisted. I said: If you really loved my music, you would remember its details as well and not have to bother me in my old age, to recall such painful memories. Here they sensed more than they had known. But old man, they asked, can the songs that bring us joy bring you pain? (These were no longer children, but nonetheless young enough to ask such foolish questions.) I told them: I will not sing for you, but I will tell you my secret. With it you can sing songs yourself, and suffer through life until you too are an old man who no longer wants to sing. This is all I know: It is songs of pain that bring people joy. I am old and tired of pain. And you, who know no pain, can never bring me joy. So they let me be, at last.
CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE by Significant Objects | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE by Significant Objects | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) by Significant Objects | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators