We presume hush because business has yet to come.
People stand, the movement of feet inaudible
Over the creeping perception of noise
An indistinguishable hum pervading the acoustic
Of suitcases’ wheels
Clitter-clattering across cobbled stones
Some uneven, some gliding with ease —
The bounce of speed announcing a sanguine rhythm
To the muted silence of others.
The wavering pitch of industrial heater
Destabilizes this quiet corridor
A sine wave soaring and receding
To the intractable pulse of ticket machines
Snatching and spitting pockets of air
Pumping vehemence with
Every phonic gesture
The thinking whirr of print motor
Confirmation of a laconic entry
Into the deep reverberation of steel.
The rumbling murmur of engine
Gravitates towards a single, low frequency
Hovering somewhere around F or F♯
A series of harmonics soaring above
The yawning hiss of diesel
Improvising a basso ostinato
To the jarring constancy of seagull call.
Voices, numerous, mingle in cacophony
The blare of Walkman headsets
Deafening their victims’ thoughts
To the predictable and sometimes morbid utterances
Of wailing pop idols
Questions, feigning interest, rise in mock surprise
To the sympathetic affirmation of shared moments
Infiltrating every auditory pathway.
Trains no longer chug or choo-choo
But purr in contented understatement
The subterranean click of rail on track
Crescendoing and decrescendoing
In parallel with the spiked system of
Short-long, short-long, short-long
Then suddenly, no rails, just block floating
An aphasic levitation over the electrified cry of metal.
This place, sounds once external
Are now made internal
Drawing my attention to the absence of
Lug-hole ear-flaps
A method to protect myself
From the onslaught of unmelodic music:
The kind that is unplanned and often goes unnoticed.
I feel the dissonant rattle of vacation
Tingling in the tips of my fingers
I sense the snaking irregularity of commerce
Buzz in my unsuspecting ears
I detect the well of sonority
In the aching walls of my heart
I uncover the clamour of emotion
Under the thickness of quiescence.
The babble penetrates my skin
Entering through pore and orifice
Blind sensation giving way to
The transmutation of fanfare and fireworks
Gut-resounding roar of designation
Amongst the throbbing beat of dissolution
I see, I touch, I taste and I smell
Everything that I hear.
The division between self and sound
Is no longer divisible
Flesh and fracas mingle
Somewhere lurking beneath the shutters of absorption
I hear the scream of car-crash and juddering bridges
Not from outside but from within.
The sonic city pierces
Bleeding, insane
Re-forming my body
In each sonorous instant
Giving wealth and redevelopment
To the embodied histories
Of every passing ear.

Photo by Imogene Newland.