~ a short story

One last song. This would be it. A swan song, a signature. “Magnum opus,” an understatement. A True Finale.

Cuelo stood at the ramparts before the orchestra. One last one. After a lifetime of creation, he was ready to complete his final performance. Spotlight glaring, full attire. Heart racing, arms were trembling, there was no helping that now. Scanning, he met the eyes of the players, section by section, person by person. He knew them all so well. They were his friends, longtime partners and fellow artists and they here were for him on this last night. Finale. He could hardly comprehend the word’s significance. Truly, it was his best, not in quality or precision or in the sound, but in its meaning.

He stood at the ready. Eyes closed, heart full of the anticipation of the start.

Lead them on now, one more time.

The composition would begin with a
s w e l l i n g / surging / s i n g i n gsonority

Breath in — breath out.
Strike the soul’s chord’ his mentor always said.

The staggering procession played into being.
There was no better moment than this, the beginning.

He felt at home, caressed by the notes, the delighting apprehension of what is to come.

Becoming becoming becoming / being being being being / Transforming
And finishing, flourishing, fulfilling — finding the matter within the music

He had written hundreds, been in this spot thousands of hours, produced this effect for millions. The fame never mattered. The money never mattered. The art usually mattered. The performance always mattered.






was in the dissonance

between the moments of dissimilar dichotomies


changing conditions.

The resonance was elemental / The sonorous crossfades of wooden, brass, leather, steel, ivory locomotions was beautifully fraught with mixed meanings — for player and listener, both equal experiencers

What you heard in the boom was hidden away again within the strings of a reprise.

Every single listener walks away with a different treasure, a secret-hearted paradox of self-cultured interpretation.

S u b j e c t i v i t y was enchanted into the stones of our being

Here was the value of that artistry and the Truth of a creator’s heart,
It could be heard!


Looking back, all those years ago standing on the precipice of ruination, found himself staring into the abyss — the orchestrations had saved him, walked him back to stand in the light of long forgotten ideals.

How many knew this? How many would understand?
He wouldn’t exist, here now at this century mark — without the notes on these little pages.

He realized he hadn’t opened his eyes thus far into the performance,
there was no need,
there was no space for senses other than the one.

Hands waving, Notes playing, Mind racing;

This was the key to his existential fortress /
\ the fortitude of heart that let him be here now

This was the philosopher’s stone
This was the nightmare in his ethereal frame
This was the fertile, bloody ground upon which his legacy founded.

His whole being set within a [Stone] x (Heart).

His story was redemptive and chaotic and enraptured within this art itself —

For over a decade, decades ago // aligned with chemicals // calling out to Gods elsewhere //  enacting the changes of a damnation // demons in his home // hell in his soul // sounds forced out the world of creative exposition within // wellsprings of escaping Truth //  toward a new beginning he could strive, securing good will in a process consistent //  culling the beasts ripping him to shreds inside // idealistically attempting to be greater than oneself // owing his new fate to friends gathered from worlds away.

Aspects of Art channeled Hope and Change and Benevolent Consequences into a Destiny Careered

Everything he ever lived was embodied in what he wrote.

Every note a narrative,
Every melody a mythical moment, a memoir \
Every vibration a voice and a version of himself \
Every dissonant, terrifying chord a comedy & tragedy \
Every harmony a hell to return from \\

Every resonating accent a romance, an anecdote from a time long past brought to the forefront of the audience’s regard, not to be judged but observed, in stoicism or fanaticism or something else.

He played so he could live. And this was Cuelo’s Finale.

The final note echoes into the audience’s resounding applause.

He put his arms down.


The melody now shifted along the bars as a stream along a brook, stones unturned and unchanging, for now. But that would change. The creation now within the hearts of those here; the echoes of the sounds bring everlasting alterations to the player and the listener.

The experiencers now having experienced, they will continue moving forward with something new, something crystallized into knowingness.

Cuelo’s music played around the world. Adapted for all mediums. Enjoyed by adults and children alike.

He would never compare himself to the legends. But others would.

When at length the last song ended, the man in the spotlight receded to the curtains of the shadow. Upon the final emphasis, his time was up. The audience looked out over the players, the players looked up to their composer. He was simply no longer there.

He was gone, but not lost. For Cuelo, there would be a continuation — in the page, in the scale, in the pitch, in the tone, in the keys on the piano he heard like language.

His presence lay forever within the very art he created.

An original. His Finale was just a new beginning. ~

~ art by Kristin Saleri