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Interactive presentation plan for: Beethoven by Shane Koyczan

Activity overview:

38 slides

Beethoven
Shane Koyczan

Listen
his father
made a habit
out of hitting him
see

some men drink
some men yell
some men hit their children

this man
did it all

because I guess all men
want their boys
to be geniuses

Beethoven
little boy
living in a house
where a name meant nothing

living in a house
where mercy had to be earned
through each perfect note

tumbling up through the roof
to tickle the toes of angels
whose harps
couldn’t hold half the passion

that was held in the hands
of a young boy
who was hard of hearing

Beethoven
who heard
his father’s anthem
every time he put finger
to ivory

it was not good enough
so he played slowly

not good enough
so he played softly

not good enough
so he played strongly

and when he could play no more
when his fingers cramped up
into the gnarled roots of tree trunks
it was
not good enough

Beethoven
a musician
without his most precious tool
his eardrums
could no longer pound out rhythms
for the symphonies playing in his mind

he couldn’t hear the audiences clapping
couldn’t hear the people loving him
couldn’t hear the women in the front row whispering

Beethoven
as they let the music
invade their nervous system
like an armada marching through
firing cannonballs

detonating every molecule in their bodies
into explosions of heavenly sensation
each note
leaving track marks
over every inch of their bodies

making them ache
for one more hit
he was an addiction

and kings/queens
it didn’t matter
the man got down on his knees
for no one

but amputated the legs of his piano
so he could feel the vibrations
through the floor
the man got down on his knees
for music

and when the orchestra played his symphonies
it was the echoes of his father’s anthem
repeating itself
like a brok-broken recor-brok-broken record

it was
not good enough

so they played slowly
not good enough

so they played softly
not good enough

so they played strongly
not good enough

so they tried to mock the man
make fun of the madness
by mimicking the movements
holding their bows
a quarter of an inch above the strings
not making a sound

it was
perfect
see
the deaf have an intimacy with silence
it’s there in their dreams

and the musicians turned to one another
not knowing what to make of the man
trying to calculate
the distance between madness and genius

realizing that Beethoven’s musical measurements
could take you to distances
reaching past the towers of Babylon
turning solar systems into symbols
that crashed together

causing comets to collide
creating crescendos that were so loud
they shook the constellations
until the stars began to fall from the sky

and it looked like the
entire universe
had begun to cry
distance must be an illusion

the man must be
a genius

Beethoven
his thoughts moving at
the speed of sound
transforming emotion into music

and for a moment
it was like joy
was a tangible thing
like you could touch it

like for the first time
we could watch love and
hate dance together

in a waltz of such precision and beauty
that we finally understood
the history wasn’t important

to know the man
all we ever had to do was
listen.

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