|Balancing on Ledger Lines
By Jenna Coburn
It's about time we did something about these microphones:
Your tightrope wires are connected to the other end of fame,
head shrinking under a spotlight's scrutiny
as the drums keep pounding out my unsingable melodies.
You're so close to the ground, now.
Not many people are left here
between the loveless spaces
you never shared.
No one saw you coming and no one watched you go,
no romance, no sentiment:
just the power-hungry poet in me and their silent riot
crossed with your directionless voice and its volume.
You know, there's still no proof
against the prison prize you crave.
You have nothing but me now, nothing
but the crescent moons in the attic of your brain.
"Just come closer and maybe you'll surpass the dotted lines.
Let me find you there, past the casted shadows,
you've gotta dream it; that's the hardest part,
singing along to mind-made madness.
Hearts? That's not for a while.
Then, you let the bass lines shatter speakers
in both senses of the word
until your voice can only be heard through your eyes.
Watch them from shadows emerging
like drunken words;
it's gotta be fate. I found you here,
in headaches and listenings
and maybe the quotation marks should have stopped a while back,"
or maybe they're still there and always will be.
I can still hear you breathing,
trying to get out;
just don't rip out your hair
like you sang out your heart back then.
It was only yesterday,
and doesn't it feel like years?
They drilled you apart and you savored the moments,
walking the lines of your life on fame until you couldn't stand,
the outlines of those shadows caving in
and yet they still illuminated
the edges of your mask,
because maybe you came to the cliff's end too many times.
Your throat is getting tighter
so scream it loose,
lean back on drifting vocal cords and waft away.
Leave it alone, be cool, just
sing until you can't sing anymore.
That's how you wanna go out:
not by falling off the tightrope,
but by falling away from yourself,
and that is all you'll ever be.
Your head is hanging down
and your shaken hands join the voices behind your back,
so you serve yourself to them on a platter any way you can.
Don't let the days pass you by, lullabies unheard;
it must be forever. I can't feel you anymore and
it's not my place to ask, but what's holding you back?
Their riots or yours, or maybe the vibrations of mine?
Listen; I know you can feel, but I won't change,
I can't change.
But it's whatever;
you can twist everything around. I must admit,
it was fun to watch you crush with your words at first,
emptying our bottles onto the remains and laughing
when you still had the noise to interrupt.
It should've been easier for one of us, at least;
I just don't want to see you
turn to a symphony without a voice
no matter how beautiful you think it could be.
out of sight, out of mind, out of lives.
Fame the Game has forgotten your name,
but it never knew mine to begin with.
Out of sight, out of mind, but never out of earshot;
you've gotta clamor with everything I've given you,
climb high on the heights you're afraid of.
Honestly, it's a little ridiculous. Ten thousand people at the ready
and it's still always only been you, me, and an hourglass
that was only ever filled with cold coffee and shreds of paper.
I haven't written you a song since the fall,
but time has made me wonder:
wonder what we could pry from the past we revile, revere,
wonder what caffeine-soaked fame is still waiting in its wilted palms,
wonder what would happen if your voice were here with me--
End the night and hide.
Hop on the train and come closer.
We'll crash till dawn
and hopefully someone will hear that confession,
that verse in hoarse, hushed tones:
it'll be stuck in their heads forever, babe;
we'll be a number one hit.