Mouth organ

Sally in the Garden, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Wind That Shakes the Barley, Money Musk, where do these damn tunes come from? They come from this little metal box, from its rows of tongues. From my own tongue and lips and throat. From the in-breath and the out-breath, the wings inside my chest fluttering however the notes dictate. From a change in the weather; from the flicker of lightning behind my eyelids. Fisher’s Hornpipe, the Rights of Man, Off to California, no two refrains come out the same. Grace notes grow into flourishes, flourishes into figures, figures into new tunes — reels, ballads, hornpipes — half the titles vanished from my memory, few lyrics (can’t sing and play at the same time in any case), only the tune, or part of it. I pace back and forth on the morning porch, cupping the mouth organ against my lips. Thunder rattles the windows behind me. The rain pours down.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. “Grace notes grow into flourishes, flourishes into figures, figures into new tunes…”

    I subscribe.



  2. Oh, I wish I could hear it. I’d bring my guitar.


  3. I’ve got two songs in me, and I just wrote the third.

    -They Might Be Giants


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