Nights stretched to morning.
Muscles ached from hauling gear,
and set-ups:
Conga’s, bongo’s, granite blocks, chimes.
Hung and racked.
A full traps case: Guero, rattles, rain-stick,
cabasa.
Noises hidden till hands’ contact.
Mics rigged—one for skins, another ambient,
that took each whistle, whisper,
snick, thrum and clack.
Then the ubiquitous wait.
To absorb the room. Slide into the zone,
head-prep, sound-check.
Each instrument tested,
as tech-man spidered over his desk,
tweaked risers, treble, bass, EQ.
Mixed like a chef.
My sounds glided round, through.
Seasoned judiciously as salt.
The warm wash of it rolled back.
Skins sang, belled and bellowed.
hands and wrists tingled.
Excitement hummed, visceral, deep.
Then the eye-catch, knowing grab
of notes as we painted the tune,
onto the air. Tight, perfect, seamless.
Individual skill
honed to a collective golden whole.
Watching faces smiled.
Applause washed the finale.
Drew us toward the take-down.
A gritty-eyed struggle to stay awake,
in a van in early dawn.

© 2017, Miki Byrne

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