The grand ash tree on almond road was cut to mold my girth on October 24th. And the plucked metal became my voice. So it was in the death of my ancestors, I first sounded. The luthier created me with love, but with jaded fret hands. Hands that could not strum, nor hold a chord. Fine hands to carve and bend and envision me. But to weak to hold a fiddle. Too dull to hold the joint just right to vibrate perfectly my enlivened strings. Elliot Bates was the first to speak of us. The social life of instruments. He said we possessed sociality, relationality. That we were empowered agents of culture and context.
My strings are silent for my owner possesses not the skill nor the patience to wait with me. To hear me. And so sometimes I hum in resonance with an accidental vibration of the room. But mostly I sit in silence. I am entombed. Would someone tell the humans? It’s a crime to leave us unaccompanied in this dark and dusty room. To bang us around as they move about, but failing to sit with us? She only interacts me so that I may cry with her. She only sits with me to feel my breath so I may absorb her tears. How will they ever learn music when they don’t take the time to listen? And I fear that my wood will crack under the movement and the dryness of this lonesome room. But there is no sunlight to console me as there was for the ash trees. Rather, I live quietly violently in my red velvet case. Smeared with finger prints and never bathed. She never spent the time with me to hear my cacophony, my rhythm nor my rhymes. Bates will you not free us with your theories? With the significance we possess? Or do you doubt our ability to affect divine affections? Perhaps you fear this instrument is possessed? Silent singer won’t you free us from our tombs? Or do you plan to leave all your instruments alone as if we were not agents of music? As if we had no voice? Do you plan to never play me? Never touch these strings again? Or will you for a moment, just lend a broken hand. Your pen is always with you. How I wish I were your hands! But rather I your instrument am entombed but not yet dead.