Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“God’s Sound Check”

R.B. Morris is a poet, songwriter, solo performer, band leader, and a sometimes-playwright and actor from Knoxville, Tennessee. He has published books of poetry, including Early Fires and Keeping the Bees Employed, and music albums including Spies Lies and Burning Eyes and Rich Mountain Bound. He wrote and acted in The Man Who Lives Here Is Loony, a one-man play taken from the life and work of writer James Agee, and was instrumental in founding a Knoxville park dedicated to Agee. Morris served as the Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee from 2004 to 2008 and was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame in 2009.

God’s Sound Check

When God was setting it all up
The way it is
Mockingbird was there fluttering
Around between
His ears

When God plugged it in
All the fear and trembling
All the love and murder
All the crashing waves
And synchronicities
All the calibrations
And determinations
How hot a kiss
How loud a stink
How sick a taste
How long a tooth
And how it would look
To the emergent beasts
All the while He was tweaking
The secret frequencies of a tweet
Of light whistling around
In that endless night
Nodding out divine vibrations
And golden echoes to the mix

He knew all this swirling
Of the ethers and clumping
Of the clay into further
Convergences would amplify
His myriad transformations
And produce some graven
Good sounds

Cool, thought God, dialing in
A last ravel of constellations
This is good
Let them touch everything
And burn if they burn
Or learn if they learn
And let’s get this symphony cooking