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Transports of the Foregone Man

Transports of the Foregone Man

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Published by JoeyKuhn

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Published by: JoeyKuhn on May 04, 2010
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05/04/2010

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Transports of the Foregone Man There goes the genius, hair like a stormcloud and eyebrows arched, irises

flashing lightning. Leaving the door behind him, he enters gray cobblestone streets, sheened with rain² mazes of horses and carriages, and people who never go out without hats. He has been troubled of late, disturbed; he senses that his life has been growing more distant, fragmentary, cracked like the irregular mosaics of the streets he walks. He has been trying to listen to God through a tin can attached to a string. An apt metaphor, he thinks grimly, for his eardrums are becoming muffled, dull like wet cotton. A carriage flashes by, the mares darkly intent on their destination, and the wheel splashes water from a puddle onto his leg, jolting him out of his ruminations. He could not hear it coming from behind; this only darkens his mood. He thinks back to that morning, when the lady of the house sweetly flashed her eyes at him, her brown curls dangling softly and her lips moving, but without anything that could be called a sound penetrating his ears. The passages into the stronghold are all blocked, and his head is now under siege, a siege that will be long and arduous. The stormclouds roll in; the dusk continues to gather. He still has the memory of music²glorious cantatas and oratorios continually stretch their limbs, unfolding and awaking in his mind. But try as he might, he cannot stop the memories from acquiring a troubling musky odor, the dullness of old silver. He has been writing, writing now more than ever, in a furious attempt to ward off the twilight of the sense. Yet still the onslaught progresses, ominously, eternally. He is at the music-hall now. His orchestra is inside, and he knows that in several hours, masses will be thronging here, for him, to hear his newest masterpiece. He clutches the rolled score under his jacket, protecting it from the rain. It contains his final touches, the pencil-stroke finishes to his great symphony. And he knows in his heart that it is great, even though he will never hear it. Inside, the hall is empty but the stage is full. The maestro mounts his podium, spreads out his plans, and calls his troops to order. A twinge of loss pierces his ribcage as he watches their movements and remembers the shuffle of sheets, the scrape of chairs, the tiny ticks of instruments that he cannot hear anymore. He issues his last-minute instructions, and pencils scrape mutely across paper, writing little Italian notes and adding one more cursive f to the fortissimo of the final fermata. He closes his eyes. How much better to have been blind. He would trade his eyes, the overestimated organ of the populace, for just a touch of the sense that invades the skull and permeates the soul²the sense that allows one to feel. For he feels nothing as the adoring crowd shuffles in and takes their places in the auditorium. He scorns their gazes, turns his back to them. Why worship as a god someone who cannot hear, cannot receive? Someone less than a man; someone who can now only give. The masses have no sense, he thinks. Nor could he feel anything when his lady, the one who gave him a room and a home, touched his hand in the kitchen that morning, looking into his eyes and silently mouthing, ³Good luck.´ He knows that it is now too late for him to love her; he can only offer his whole self up to her, laying his sheet of notations on her altar. The exalted man raises his wand, and the music starts. He grips a white sceptre of tremendous power, and only he knows how to wield it; a flick of the wrist here, a twirl and eddy there. Sometimes he brings it down with an ethereal lightness, sometimes with a thunderous force. He knows that his orchestra, men and women in communion with him in pursuit of the ineffable, are following his will with the minutest perfection. They are his appendages; he is their

authority. But still he cannot hear a horn, a flute, a single violin string as he makes his arms rise and fall. He is lost in an endless space of silence, an infinite and timeless void. On the ship bound through seas of cloud, he is alone at the helm; his crew is all down below. He must recall the sound. He surveys his subjects, his many arms furiously drawing bows across strings, his many mouths exhuming their souls through pipes of gold. They must go yet higher, and farther. He works his arms desperately, feverishly, waving his thunderstick, beating the air. His blood is beginning to boil; it rises into his eyes. His vision begins to fall away in swirls of black, violet, and yellow. He doesn¶t need it, anyway. He is the shaman, leading his tribe into ecstasy for rain, and he would jump up and down on the podium if his feet weren¶t bound to the earth by a leaden weight. The silence is his burden. But he moves faster, harder, with more and more rage. They must go yet higher, and farther yet! Straining, he is straining for that monument, the mountain of stone than man may set down where he can claim, ³Here, right here, I stuffed chairs and pendants and daggers and rags into a barrel, shoved them out to sea, and then disburdened I leapt, my feet left the ground, and I went on up to the sun.´ So straining against deadlocked ears and a walled-in head, strains of a sound divine begin to reach the foregone man, first as if from afar, then from closer. They were singing, ³All men then will become brothers.´ And for that instant, he knew that they had made it, that he, they had broken through, and love came flooding back to him. Finally, exhausted, he dropped his arms, turned around, and was amazed to see a sea of standing people, their hands creating ripples. And a small, gentle sound, like the pattering of rain on a window Monday morning, reached him.

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