By Kevin Carrel Footer
20 DEC 2015

The blank white walls of the room are covered in illegible words. Totally. There is no spot that has not been written on. A madman’s ode.

Covered in words like some cover their bodies in writhing tattoos, the walls are full of promise, cant, reproach. They make a structure as rigid and real as any built of stone or wood. Words summon me, cast illusion, reveal and imprison me. They are at once my jailers and the longed-for accomplices who come to spring me from my cell. They are the piece of everything.

But mischievous. They tempt me over the edge. Heeding them, I take the fateful steps which should be my demise but aren’t. I should be falling, but instead – to my surprise – I am rising.

There is an empty chair in the middle of the room. I sit down and pull out my harmonica. As I play, the words begin to slip and slide over the walls. It is as if the words needed to be unbound. Shackled to the plaster, they made no sense. Transformed through music, their missing eloquence is decrypted.

Writing and playing harmonica are the same for me. In both cases, I go to this high place where I am absolutely alone. The audience disappears, readers disappear. There is only a narrow path leading into the night. The path is bordered on both sides by precipices over which it would be very easy to fall. Only I don’t. I just take step after step as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

But beneath the music, beneath the dance, it is the thick current of words that is the mover of everything.

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