15th February, 2016 (Listening to Tom Waits)

by Brendan Strong

“…songs are just very interesting things
to be doing with the air…”

The roar of an engineroom soars from the ground
Where thumps and clangs and snares and bangs
From a rupturing earth invoke latent memories of savagery

Guitar sounds as jagged as modern life,
Strings and woodwinds remind you dreams exist,
And that nightmares can be carried by a breeze.

A dry-leaf whisper tells of
a rumour that the worst already happened
or wishing for a kiss that’s worth the wait.

Hear a scream of steam escaping
From some closed system – freed from an insecure prison-
Blowing out a manhole cover, opening a street
Everything that hung down is sprung and wreaking havoc
(And you’ve got to love it)

What he builds down there that can tear
You apart: breaking your heart or your back
On the machines or the trees
In the forest-factory he builds in your dreams.