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Sing to my Alien Friend
NOTES IN THE MORNING
In school again, high atop the bleachers in
Our auditorium-gym, hid in the drama crowd
Though I never did belong.
My alien friend lopes in, looks round
For me. I croon a beacon-song,
Falsetto, high and femme. Her ears
Swivel, but I'm field--not seen--
Mere man. Background.
I improvise an arpeggio line,
The notes cascading down--
Soprano, alto, baritone,
As far into bass as I can
Dive. To my shock she still peers round,
Scans crowd, fails to see
Egregious me. Her folk are hawk
Eyed. She should have spotted me
Lulled, I guess, by sweetness of the song
She looked for a woman all along.
Her folk are not myopic. So is my
Image in her mind's magenta eye
So firmly girled that even as ears shake
Bass-rumbled, she can't revise mistake?
And as I dreaming singing mutely wake,
I wonder how my mind lags, stuck too;
Deaf to new clue. What re-view need I take?
- Wide vocal range: today I practiced singing at home for first time in weeks--a dream-song, First Impressions. It has a very wide range.
- Friend can't recognize my falsetto: in a voice class once, during break I sang an aria in falsetto, and our (finicky) teacher looked around at all the women in the room and asked excitedly "Who is that?" Didn't recognize me; I had to speak up. That day I learned falsetto was good for more than comedy; mine was better than most of the true contraltos.
- Alien can't see the real me: I'm alienated from my own voice! Only female voices can be beautiful. If I sing high, it's fake, imitation; if deep, it's ugly. So spare my housemates--shut up!
- Why here, why now? I don't sing at home because I think I must spare my housemates. Yet my strictest teacher was impressed with my voice--once she couldn't see I was male. Remember how female musicians started getting symphony jobs once auditions were behind screens? The dream recalls and tweaks that old memory to expose her reverse sexism--which I just accepted as normal, since my family shared it.
- ACTION: Practice at home, using my whole vocal range. Ignore how I feel; I was trained to devalue my own voice. Adjust those ears!
That hushed and sexist home
of my childhood where
only femme was fair--
can't live there. Long gone.
I woke genuinely unsure what species my alien friend was. The reason? My sensory wiring is unusual. I can't recognize faces and mostly know people by voice, body language and energy. Those are so distinct and distracting I tend to overlook physical bodies. I assume it's as genetic as prosopagnosia (face-blindness). Both high-functioning autism and second sight run in my family; either (or both interacting) could be responsible.
So I truly don't know if she was wolflike as I've shown her, or a canine pegasus, or something like a gryphon. I do know she moved gracefully, beautifully, alertly. Sharp-eared, sharp-eyed, she should have pinned me instantly. And that was the dream's point. False premises trump the sharpest senses.
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