Stephen Horenstein
Music, Arts and Society

Spewing war words from the wings (the situation)

Thoughts Alone, photo by Athan Gadinitis
"Thoughts Alone" picture by Athan Gadinitis

I am a musician. I unusually sprout sounds. Today they are words falling on deaf ears, notes in bottles smashed to smithereens. And yet I persist hoping that one of them is read…

Waiting from the wings as the war retreats (for now). It’s a frustrating situation causing not only trauma but delay of discovery due to obstacles of hubris powered by a Rolex of lies.  All pain recedes momentarily, stuck like hooks immersed in the lower gut’s gravel.

I hesitate to wander outside. My joints are rusted from never-ending days fueled by video and picture repeats gone stale. One word screams out: “powerless.”

Friends have become near enemies in the rough arena of politics; solidarity there isn’t. Compassion once in a while. I sit in my easy chair which has become worn and dull, urging me to get out into the fresh air, walking at least to the same macolet as always.

I’m retiring in a vacuum housed by fearless leaders who take their careers seriously. This state of mind is near madness solidified into the rough terrain of boredom. Positive is one of the electric “poles” whose brother is negative, and never the twain shall meet.

Brilliant mornings are contrasted by imagined scenes in worse than cells, loved ones fading in cages. There is nowhere to go but up.

No need to polish shoes as the mud is flung as far as the eye can see. Arguments, formally hidden, raise their hoary heads, endless curse of democracy’s failure and hail the king’s decline. Too much to digest. Better go out west to the sea (endless at least to Gibraltar after which “sea” becomes deluge.

My easy chair has grooves but I cannot dance to them. I am afloat with worry at who and what we’ve become. Have we won the battle but lost the war?  In this sea of hate that Dreyfus swam too, the inevitable tsunami washes all near hopes away.

Is there not one leader born of greatness, a philosopher-king would even do, someone wise but not befuddled, someone respected not tolerated, someone with integrity not wealth?

Until that rare day, I remain floating in doldrums, waiting for a change in weather. I feel powerless, a spectator of worn out videos, of crushed hopes what things could be. I shudder to think what the future brings. A war of metal? A war of deceit? Too many moments of doubt filling the weak.

This is my call to friends and loved ones to help release each other from our own invisible cages before we stagnate inside like cantaloupes rotting leaving only rancid smells that we are forced breathe.

About the Author
Stephen Horenstein is a composer, researcher and educator. His repertoire of musical works has been performed and recorded worldwide. He has been a recipient of the Israel Prime Minister's Prize for Composers and the National Endowment of the Arts (USA) and recently a Mifhal HaPais prize to produce a new album “Sounds of Siday: Side B” (orchestra).. Horenstein's teaching has included Bennington College, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; residencies at Stanford University, York University, California Institute of the Arts, and others. He is Founder and Director of the Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Music, established in 1988 to bring the music of our time to a wider audience.
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