The Drummer

for John Bonham

Surrounded by an entourage of patient drums and cymbals, 
all wordlessly awaiting  the order of sticks, their call to exist,
he sits enthroned, the master of his medium, time.
A calm engulfs the drummer and his drums before the storm.
A calm and virgin sheet of silence, liquid time in easy motion,
a huge white wall of nothing save the random noise of voices 
lulling low about the room.

Random noise or white noise, neither mean a thing.
- The pointless din of gab and gall that makes my working day.
My stumbling, awkward stabs at order, efforts to define.
I live like a wine-drunk waltzer, deaf to the dance, 
fumbling at rhythm, jerking and faltering,
trampling off-beats beneath each heavy clop 
of this anarchic motion, this nervous chaos  
which we all constantly, dutifully muster to avoid the blank of zero.
- Or, the buzz of the blankness itself.
Each noise means nothing; neither are rhythm.
Where does this leave me?  I'm drowned in the clamor.

But if I can't find time, there's others who can.
There's others who master with easy precision
the confident rhythms of God, who bend time 
and bleed it, who puncture, in even and powerful strokes, 
the void which is theirs for the taming.  
The drummer commences; the storm has begun.
Eyes closed and head pounding, Pontiff of Order,
he stamps steady edicts of bass with his foot.
He is live.  He is mighty.  He pounds meaning 
from metal.  He shatters the air with his crash.
No mealy-moist man of the nine-to-five world.
No mortal at all, but a god.  Plowing through everything,
chewing it up, and spitting it out in a line.
Branding landmarks of rhythm on a generic timescape.
I'm nailed with each successive hammer of snare
into something beyond all of this.