August 17, 2013

hammer in hand –
if i am observed; i feel like a doofus
clumsy and ignorant.

guitar in hand –
i feel a bit more comfortable
(though i still prefer to play covertly).

words in mind –
i am awkward/clownish/graceless – indecisive and overwhelmed
with my endless, earnest attempts at articulation.

the truth is:
much more of the work i do with a hammer is visible to others,
though i am usually invisible.
if i do my job well…
no one will even know that anything needed to be done
so i will go unseen and unlauded:
the church mouse – with a tool belt
i’m ok with that.
and though it is so concrete an occupation
it is still surreal to me
that i can fix things.
that i know these odd things that i know:
actuators and adapters; hydraulics and hysteresis;
kelvins, compressors and chemicals
                               (typically the R2 unit just has a bad motivator)
that i am a member of an elite master-key-holders club:
drunk with power –
controlling all comfort and convenience in the communal environment
part of a guild with secret knowledge:
what lurks behind all the closed, locked doors
                                       (what does go bump in the night)

how do you pronounce soldering or spigot? 
no really, is it just a regional thing or what? – this, i don’t know.

and maybe i am not clumsy at all…
when no one is looking
I feel capable and completely confident.
when no one is looking (the iron in irony)
I make my living (quietly) with the hammer.

but my own sense of self is still wrapped in a gentle, furtive music
connected to words

which can be a burden to me
like a backpack i lug around
without ever removing any content.
just shoving more and more into it
afraid that i am forgetting or losing things that are already there
as it just grows heavier, bulkier; dragging me down
making it harder and harder to wield the hammer.
though they are not mutually exclusive
i have trouble with the balance.

the idea of the hammer still seems foreign;
it is a part of me those closest to me rarely see
they hear a bit of guitar, they read the proffered words
they are more aware of the backpack than the tool belt.
yet i spend a lot more time with the hammer
and it is ultimately the more remunerative skill;
one my life / the other my living
for me music and words fix things that a hammer cannot
but i recognize their conjunct value and
i guess i use all these tools for mending.


5 Responses to “tool”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Great post. I definitely appreciate the backpack (and know more if it, like you said). . . .your description of it’s weight was sad to me and also made so much sense. Your words (especially since you opened the blog) have meant so so much to me. And right now your music keeps the two year old (and consequently the rest of us) sane in the car right now. We must have listened to twinkle little star 42 times on the way back from MO. Missing you in Nebraska . . . .your sis.

    • Shawn Says:

      Thanks, Sis. There are some newish very short pieces to download in the text above. Probably not as helpful to Whiskey but maybe also less mind-numbing. (missing you too.)

  2. Ryan Roling Says:


    Three songs in one blog – THAT’S what I’m talking about!

    Favorite line from the blog: “for me music and words fix things that a hammer cannot”

    Favorite song line about a hammer: “Hammer, go Hammer, MC Hammer, yo Hammer”

    Favorite sexton: Shawn Brown

  3. Lindsey Says:

    I thank God for the menders
    and you for the melodies.

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