What if you were told to stifle your dark song,
to tone down your instrument, mute the shine and tame the heat?

What if you were told that your timbre is too colorful,
keep it major over minor, pastel instead of bold?

What if you were told that your voice isn’t deep enough,
to push down the vertical, melodic and true?

What if you were told to sit still in stage corners,
relinquished for staid harmony, solo parts are not for you?

What if you were told to turn pages for the maestro,
in long-slitted, sleek black skirt with a flash of red high heel?

What if you were told that you can’t write rebellious music,
that your score is much too raw, its rough edges showing through?

What if you were told that your lyrics are quite dangerous,
too frightening for the sponsors in top hat and velvet cape?

What if you were told that your rhythms echoed Rimbaud,
too steeped in complex mythos, too irregular the beat?

What if you were told that the audience wants a bright light,
yet your stanzas speak to shadows, silhouettes behind the view?

What if you were told that your verses needed cutting,
that the patrons want your chorus to be even-timed, not blue?

What if you were told that your notes are too dissonant,
would you stifle your song, too?

– Jean Detjen

No photo description available.

[Artwork: ‘Silence’ (2017) by Vanessa Poutou]
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