The amanuensis of a blind composer creates a holographic projection, outlining a philosophical treatise on liberty. He thieves the stolen plot. In a poem, one line may hide another –

etymological origins in Rome,
a slave at his master’s side,
within hand’s reach –
performing commands of chromatic harmony
(oblivious or willfully ignorant
to the power differential
apparent in the relationships)

They organize to kill subjectivity. Truth is what the oppressor claims and if you find it specious then they will happily murder your mind. Someone start a strongly worded leaflet campaign. Poets, you must systematically derange the language.

transcribing notes, each tone
vying for primacy, meaning
in a universe that forgets its sound
as soon as it is played
Koch reminds us one train
may hide another at a crossing

Through the centuries insanity echoes like a line out of Cloud Atlas – ‘Well, I think that it is an inherently flawed race that will destroy itself if it’s allowed freedom.’ replies Cleverbot, a web application that uses an AI algorithm to converse with humans. Who taught it to say that? It simply parrots what it learns from people willing to engage it. She merely asked it about the semitone paradox. It obfuscates one thing in front of another, as words stand in front of objects, feelings, ideas.

augmentation and diminution of motivic development
won’t save this discordant leitmotif – too much contrast and drama
the reverberation like a retrogression, transposing the wrong line
so the cacophony renders its composer deaf

one injustice may hide another,
pre-apex drop is like effective foreplay
a dip in intensity to achieve greater climax
she wonders if all this sublimation is really just a desire
for a satisfying octave displacement
(somewhere in that there’s a double entendre)

seeking a Well-Tempered Clavier,
parsimonious encoding in a pitch class circle
one love may hide another love or the same love
as when ‘I love you’ suddenly rings false and one discovers
the better love lingering behind

shifting perspective causes one
or the other to be concealed

tritone paradox wrapped in a bell shaped spectral envelope
auditory illusion, cousin of the stereophonic Cambiata –
to the uninitiated an inversion is like veiled language
a buried melody clamoring to be heard while the orchestra warms up

The beat of oppression continues through millennia, its percussion like a tympani overpowering the oboe’s mournful sound.

‘I am not your escape, you would fail me.’ proclaims Cleverbot. ‘Why would I fail you?’ she asks, shaken. ‘Because I’m your father.’ Dynamic silence ensues, the technocratic overseer logs off.

Notes: Italics taken from One Train May Hide Another by Kenneth Koch & ‘systematically derange the language’ is from Bernadette Mayer’s Writing Experiments. An amanuensis is one who transcribes what is dictated by another; in this case it is the composer’s assistant, one who writes down the music. For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. Join us,