On Playing Cymbals
There is an exhibitionist in all of us,
pent-up energy waiting to fly.
Let your arms fly,
it's ok to let go
even for the shyest person.
Feel the wind on your face,
Feel your hair blowing back
as though it had a life of its own.
They actually want you to be loud
(as long as you're on the beat.)
And then you damp,
pressing them against your chest,
feel the last of the vibrations
through your flesh
in your ribs.
(But the coolest part is,
if you don't damp
but let them vibrate until
you can't hear them anymore,
then put one up to your ear,
there's this low humming that you would never have imagined
would come from a cymbal.)
It's show time now.
Let's march our figures
Remember the visuals
There is a simplist in all of us,
a selfish joy of laziness.
Because if the drumline goes out
and the section leader says,
Let's practice our paradiddles
the most they can want from you is a crash,
or maybe hi-hats
just to keep time.
The only fingering you need
is to know how to hold them without
breaking your fingers
(they're already turning black
you wonder if it's bruises or just contact with the brass.)
There's only one note and it's always in tune.
There's no need to memorise music
or take them home and
Because if you just let yourself go,
flow with the music's inner secret current
you're never wrong.
It's show time now
and you haven't marked your music and you don't know your charts
but you know exactly where to go and
when to play.
(If the rest of the band
they'd envy you.)
There is a slave in all of us,
and a masochist.
Calling "Cymbal!" is a cry for help
(or maybe just
a pitiful way
of expressing superiority.)
Hold them out
and let the snares do it all.
Muscles that you never knew existed
(But aren't your arms strong.
It's safer than steroids and
more fun than lifting weights.)
Marching your feet hurt your back hurts your arms are dead
Your neck is sore but your head is high.
(Eyes?? With pride, sir!!)
Be nice to the basses and the quads.
And sure, the snares can all pick up their own
wayward music wayward sticks.
But you're a cymbal and that's your real job
(not playing cymbals after all--
Ride cymbal may hurt but you don't have to
just be the
beast of burden.
It's parade time now
and if anyone drops a stick,
call a cymbal.