Sometimes in the darkest part of the night
I play my old cassettes to fill the overpowering silence
A familiar cadence of thoughts blares out, ready to lend meaning to any moment
Those tapes remind me of who I am, what the world is like,
How hard to slam the door on the way out of giving a damn –
You know, all the important things
As dawn breaks, I get a better look at the overplayed tracks
Worn through with use, yet dusty with neglect
I keep them just for the nostalgic novelty of it
Truth be told? I should toss the cassette player
And ship those tapes off to some museum of consciousness
To lend a little drama to a future memoir
The problem is the void they leave behind
Something must be said when the weight of it all makes it hard to breathe
New words don’t come to me in such moments
Maybe if it wasn’t so easy to steal my breath
I wouldn’t reach for recorded words to interpret the crushing silence
Perhaps I’d slam fewer doors in the middle of the night
But it remains – I am not who I was at the time of recording
And my cassettes fit about as well as my old size 2 bell bottoms
And the crude jokes I tried on at age fifteen
In what studio do we record who we’ve become
So we have something new to fill the silence
That presses in the darkest part of the night?
If you find it, drop me a line
Because I spend each morning on the brink of something new
And too many nights on the brink of turning back again
© 2019 Jacqueline Tisthammer. All Rights Reserved.
2 thoughts on “On the Brink”
Sounds familiar. I sometimes do my best creative thinking in the middle of the night. And when I crave some kind of sound in the predawn hours, I put on one of my many CDs of sounds: ocean waves, morning bird song, a pan flute echoing off canyon walls, a burbling brook. I can close my eyes and be standing on a beach or in the morning mist, or looking over the sheer cliffs of the Grand Canyon, or sitting beside a mountain stream. When i need peace, I find a way to still my mind and be with God wherever I am, whenever I can. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I read a Jewish prayer the other day: “Days pass. Years vanish. And we walk sightless among miracles.” God, open my eyes. Isn’t every day holy and life a gift of grace? Ah, may I remember that in the darkness.
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I purchased my first music cassette 50 years ago, leaving 45 rpm singles behind as I entered junior high school. I dumped the cassettes at the Goodwill four years ago when I realized I hadn’t listened to any of them in more than a decade, having repurchased much of the music I still enjoyed on CDs and, later, digitally. Yet, I kept my cassette of the Beatles’ Abbey Road … my first. Too heavily laden with sweet nostalgia to relinquish.
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