They say Stradivarius was a man unable to release things. That he used to unfurl on subordinates like the devil on a blue streak, whenever they lost sight of what he had seen.  The thing is, that’s why we remember his name throughout history; he was a visionary, eyes like chisels, give breath to what he could see. 

Can you imagine the nerve in that, the singular nature, the audacity? To take something that only exists in the realm of your imagination, and try to be the one to give it wings? They say he used to imbue himself so deeply into the articulation of visions that, eventually, their lines became his. It’s not a new concept, really; Whitman talked about it, and so did Krishnamurti; the seer and the seen are the same thing. But you have to wonder, in between all the life giving, what happens to the breath of what has been seen? 

And it reminds me of this legend I once heard about a bird that sings only once in its lifetime. About how, once it leaves the nest, this bird spends its entire lifetime searching for a thorn tree and, when it finds one, impales itself on the longest sharpest spire. In dying, out carols the lark and the nightengale, and the whole world stops to listen, and to breathe. And the moral is the best can only be bought at the cost of great suffering, or at least that’s how you explained it to me.  

But Stradevrius, you are not the man I thought you. You are not the man they made you out to be. For your lines were never steady and when they were they carved too deeply, drew the edges of what I could and could not be. And it was like that gilded cage, I got used to being outlined but, eventually, my eyes forgot to see. So I drew myself to mirrors, found myself in cracked reflections, allowed others to shade the silhouette of me. That was the cost of admission, if they could see me I’d let them in, the problem was I only saw what they did see. And so to one I was a piano, to another a cello’d drama, to another the etched taut of violin.  

Until the day I caught reflection of myself in fluted outline and began to weep for all I’d never been. Because I remembered, I remember, the whirling curvature of your anger, when your verses felt like hammers on my skin. But I took those hammers and I carved them into roses until, eventually, my flesh began to sing. And I would not forsake those memories, nor the missteps that have made me, for the melodies that beget this marbled skin. And as I hear my flesh hum softly, in a cadence nothing like you, I can’t help but wonder if I’m finally free. 


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