31 July 2022

Poem 8, 2022

The Vocalist

The rest could only imitate
what he alone
and all alone could do:
sustain, vibrate, reach
unnamed colors of the soundscape.

In the next practice room
he hears the pianist
and the teacher struggle
to paint from black and white,
tangled fingers on keys
waking hammers hitting strings
drawing nothing.

Technique enables
feeling is a lesson
no instructor has taught them.

Meanwhile the singer learns
it on his own: accepting
regimented seasons,
declining decadence
as a way of washing his instrument.

Yet on performance night,
he becomes a student
who croons in front of a crowd,
hits and holds a high note,
and sees everyone in the room
as well as himself
remain unmoved.

Years of drills unable
to abate his fear of coming out
with a heart.

—Razel Estrella

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