What’s That Sound?

sound
The Smithsonian

  • …Wait. What’s that sound?
  • What could it be?
  • A spider, creeping in the corner of your bathroom?
  • A car backfiring?
  • A faucet dripping forever, to infinity?
  • Wait; what is that sound?
  • It’s so insistent, so persistent.
  • …It is the relentless beating of that tell-tale heart?
  • Your girlfriend/boyfriend, groaning stupidly in their sleep?
  • The sound of your impending doom?
  • The ongoing roar of the ocean, fifteen city blocks away?
  • A cat?
  • The sound of a needle scratching off a record, but in, like, a negative inverse universe, so that it’s more like the sound of needle being applied to a record, but in inverse, so that it’s the rewind of a record scratching to nothingness?
  • Does that even make sense?
  • Water dripping down a cord?
  • A beetle scratching?
  • O, is it the sound of that Shakespearean Rag — so elegant, so intelligent?
  • Children playing at a far-away playground?
  • The untiring lonesome rattling cough of a dying man?
  • An engine revving?
  • If you could put the sound of the sound into words, how would that sound?
  • Something like this: “sound, mystery — pause — that sound… again.”
  • A tribal war-cry?
  • A shout in the street?
  • The antique ringing of a doorbell?
  • A yawn, and then an answering yawing?
  • The even more antique cry of an ice-cream truck, blocks and blocks away?
  • Or is the sound just an auditory hallucination, the sound of you having been awake for far too many hours?
  • The sound of a paper-towel-less hands-free hand-drier, you know the kind, the kind with the large square chrome metal button, being turned on in a bathroom?
  • The sound of time’s wingéd chariot, closely approaching, right behind you?
  • What is going on?
  • What is happening?
  • What is that insistent sound, drumming, thrumming?
  • The sound of the grass growing?
  • The sound of a rose petal falling?
  • A sound so low that if you could understand it, it would be like a wave crashing, and you would expire from the knowledge of the everything on the other side of the nothing that you always think that you never hear?
  • A cricket?
  • A rickety lawnmower?
  • The sound of a rattle, and a grin spread ear to ear?
  • The sound of lonesome longing weeping, down by the pier?
  • What, what?
  • What is it?
  • The sound of a single tear?
  • What is that sound, drumming, drumming, like a distant army beginning to array itself for battle — or is it just the sound of your lover’s heart?
  • A sound, or a murmur, or a nothing?
  • If you could understand the sound, then you could understand everything now.
  • Too late; but you could understand it all.
  • But instead of understanding, you have a lack of understanding.
  • A lack, which is like the lack produced by the sound of the sound.
  • You understand nothing.
  • Very little, in fact.
  • …And maybe that’s all for the best. TC Mark

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