Notes on Hearing Loss

A house down around the block is getting a new roof, hammers echoing like giant flickers. Since the big virus outbreak the neighborhood seems quieter, fewer cars speeding up the bumpless street, the park above closed to the outdoor concerts, though a few bicycle races and random music groups have come and gone. We frequently hear music though, through the trees, over the roofs, through the backyard fences, but can’t always be sure of where the sound is coming from. No fireworks this year. Not a single yard sale. But some noise seems louder, the trash trucks on their weekly binge, the mailman at the mailbox, the yapping yellow dog behind and a yard over, skateboards, our tinnitus.

A loss of sound seems paradoxically to quicken our sense of hearing. That is dynamics, change in pressure and temperature, frequency and consistency. Some sounds we don’t hear until they go silent. Sound can baffle, bounce around dancingly. If you’re uncertain where a sound, particularly a voice, is coming from, the disorienting distraction bewilders. Just because you don’t hear a sound doesn’t mean you can’t feel it, its pressure in your ears, resounding around your head. Likewise, you might hear voices, but the words lack clarity, and you can’t make out what’s being said.

Some sounds are tight, other loose fitting. A flash flood of sound leaves a wake of mud. The beginning of rain drips into the ears, like its relative petrichor, that newly wet earthy scent in the nose, a slow awakening to something that’s been asleep for a long time and is now looking for a new bed to spend the night, one of your ears unfolding asymmetrically.

Woolly and Blue

Yes, lend an ear or
if you can’t hear
a hand everyone
needs help some
day sooner or later.

A great funnel follows
this big bang spiral
the universe a canal
of turns and twists
through a milky orifice.

The birds play the leads
the melodies while the trees
rhythm leaves in the wind
as I wile away the evening
dressed in hearing aids.

More than sound is here
to hear is to feel motion
an eyelid angel’s kiss
across the baby’s lanugo
can you hear this?

Cyberpunk

Round ears curl silver coils of sounds,
across nose stands glass bridge in worm-fog,
always under construction.

Every sense a degree, and digression, and distraction.

This is technology:
rubber sneakers, cotton threads,
titanium screw implants capped
with fool’s gold.

Then that hardened heart
lumbering loose without nails
full of sloth a snail’s shake
ebbs & flows fickling & flicking
comes & goes riding the tides
like a pickle on smooth ocean
swells rising then falling
oily muscle lifting and dropping
off to sleep, surly salty
heart pickled in hope chest,
just like a human heart.

Sestina’s Radio

My left speaker falsifies me,
crackles, hisses, clichéd toad.
I turn my right speaker to you.
Surf wax fills the air,
wave tubes squeezed tight.
An unreal bird sings,

pierces my ear with a ring,
and to my radio welds me,
night’s station holding tight,
while in the surf singing toads
fill the ringing air
with songs of greyouts.

I try to explain these sounds to you:
above my left ear a toad sings,
caught in my curly bird hair,
a secret word brings to me,
from KJOB, sings this DJ Toad:
“Silence is noise for you tonight.”

My ears grow frightened,
and I look for sounds to you,
the coming of the toads,
the interventions of Sestina’s sting,
for alone she sings to me.
My ear receives whispers of air,

a clogged blogging air,
seashelled, wax watertight.
The toads begin to mew
in the alleys of my ears joyously,
a clear and concise ring,
the singing of the toads,

about nothing much to do.
No sound fills the air.
Nothing outside this radio sings,
its channel fixed tight
to sing only to you,
asymmetrically.

Only in my left ear sings this toad,
for me a secret aria,
while fades like light your voice.

See more Sestinas.