Roy Nathanson


Mr. Noise claims it starts with breath,
hovering the road —
driving from gut.
So he gets in there with the rag
after the jaws do their dance —
before sound gets itself all dressed up.

Says he polishes a few squawks, but mostly
he watches folks argue over architecture.
That’s what Mr. Noise calls it anyway —
when a sound angles itself
and a person’s face falls
or a body goes slack…

Mr. Noise says he helps when he can.
He’ll lob a low F or a high B
just beneath the offending phrase —
to try and shock the sentence at its root.
Says it gives’em time to drag out the rag.

But generally, folks just make their messes
and Mr. Noise cleans ‘em up.
Stacks the word/notes on his shelf
between the first and second overtones of Bb.
Then he closes ‘em all up into a muddy sinkhole.

Thing is, we like the guy fine but me
and the wife just can’t keep ‘em out!
Noise comes right through the front door
and my wife and I just bug out!

Anyway, my neighbor, Ruben, he’s kind
of a believer type — or something like that.
He brings Noise his morning coffee —
reads ‘em the funnies — that type of thing.
So one morning, Ruben claims he got lucky.

Noise was in the kitchen, lips unfurled,
rag in hand, and all of a sudden,
out of the corner of his eye
he sees MY high D ring past his roof —
sings right through his gunked up window!

Ruben said it was really cool —
like it had this different ring to it.
He claims it was like a prism
for the blotchy clouds.