toccata and fugue

toccata: a composition
styled as improvisation
to show the speed and style of fingers;
the stroke and flutter of hands across octaves.
i want to flex language in toccata,
words instead of chords interlaced
to dizzy and dazzle air;
images brushed thick
in layered consonants
instead of fugued themes–
but how to catch
a progressive theme echoed
in words:

what i listen to
is the bach piece

the bach piece
is what i listen to

the piece i listen to
is bach at his best

toccata and fugue in d minor

the mad genius
pipes the organ
in the mansion.

in the mansion
the haunted genius pipes mad chords
on the organ

on the organ the madman
pipes genius chords

is the closest i can get
to that delicious repetition–
the chords i love warp and wrap
to suggest tightness
around your neck, or
the knife’s kiss against skin–
remember this
is a horror movie
so the suspense
will kill
but not quickly

so the knife is cold
but not cutting, not yet;
the threat implied but not
enacted, as something
darker than fear
frosts the glass of windows

with bars on them, intricate as that music
scaled and barred ascending
into fugued release

or is it escape?

watch the movie
& tell me
who makes it out

***written listening to this:

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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37 Responses to toccata and fugue

  1. nelle says:

    You are really hitting your stride. Confidence shows in your work, so too a comfort in who you are as a writer. Guards come down, doors open, and a person shines.

    Your work is consistently superior, and the reading of this, so pleasant a journey.

    • Susan L Daniels says:

      Oh, goodness, Nelle–thank you! I am enjoying this journey, and glad you are walking along with me.

      • nelle says:

        You are most welcome. Not ten years ago, hell, five… the thought of putting anything original in front of others would terrify me, never happen. It happened, and the barriers what fall as we work this process, it expunges writing inhibitions and opens our minds full to spew words.

        I can see this confidence so clearly in what you write. You roam free and explore everything, then get it down in different rhythms and perspectives what make it so wondrous. You can’t teach this, we can only do. You’ve done.

  2. Trent Lewin says:

    My god. That was intense and awesome and I think the best I have read from you, which is saying quite a lot, the beginning I dunno has some steamy undercurrent to it and then the horror, the horror! Susan, you are a genius. Do not reply and say thanks, please. Just keep being a genius and writing stuff like this.

  3. davidtrudel says:

    This is a superior piece of writing Susan. Standing ovation time.

  4. Susan, anytime I read your work, I say to myself this woman is something else. She is so prolific. Sometimes, I just don’t have adequate words to describe your poetry. LIke now. Brilliant is mild, Susan so just know that today, for me, you are the best poetress I have had the honour to meet online and off it. May God bless you, Susan. You are an inspiration and I only wish I could meet you in person one fine day. 🙂

    • Susan L Daniels says:

      Oh, Celestine, you honor me so with your words. I honestly do not know what to say but thank you. I hope we can meet someday–not sure when/if I am heading to your hemisphere, but if I do find myself on your continent–we’ll meet for dinner somewhere!

  5. brian miller says:

    haha i think you accomplished your goal and fun to play with words like that mixing and remixing them to eek out the meaning in them…excellent closure on this as well susan

  6. kelly says:

    oh! this is fabulous, i was almost holding my breath in suspense…. you did a wonderful job of spinning this out.

  7. ayala says:

    This is great, enjoyed your share.

  8. Mary says:

    This is a perfect leadup to Halloween! I hear that eerie music!

  9. poemsofhateandhope says:

    Loving the three stanzas between ‘the mad genius’ and ‘haunted’…now THAT is clever wordplay!! – I want to flex language in toccata …….this makes me want to too!!

  10. You had me at the title. Of course I love to see poetry = music= poetry. When you hit the high notes:your poem does what the music should…the music provides counterpoint to more than one movie though..curious which one this references. Was it the early version of Phantom of the Opera? Wonderful interweaving in the poem.

  11. truly a beautiful language for the ear as yours is to the soul! muuaah!

  12. Rock on, girl. This totally grabbed me. It was like Ive been this voice before. I loved the flow, the references that make me smile, a big part of my life. So kool, one of my favs tonight. Keep on writing; I’ll be waiting.

  13. Patti says:

    I’m picturing you, listening to the music and writing your poem-song, matching the the beat and the cadence, and building the drama as Bach did. Great job at it!

  14. ha…this is way cool…bach and then the very unexpected movie weave..ha…and i wonder who made it out alive..smiles

  15. Myrna says:

    This is so well written. I love how you weaved music, poetry and horror. Your words are well chosen to create suspense and beauty at the same time. Really enjoyed this.

  16. hypercryptical says:

    Beautiful music cleverly woven.

    Anna :o]

  17. Evelyn says:

    “the haunted genius pipes mad chords”
    this is magnificent. great subject matter, I never thought of it this way…

  18. Lindy Lee says:

    Excellent poetry…

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