Here is another mix (pun intended!) of AI and digital experimentation. First, I pasted my poem “acoustic shadows” into a basic text editor. Here is the poem’s full text:
Acoustic Shadows When Grant squeezed Vicksburg the siege outlasted trees, the Mississippi men burrowed into bluffs, even the river itself. Spectators huddled on the hilltops, Sunday dressed, sharing umbrellas and stale tobacco, a set of glasses to glimpse the Yankee General who’d tied a private to a cypress trunk for punching a horse. A family, picnicking on a small plateau, gazed at one another with wonder, found they were deaf to the war while they watched it rage below. The slightest breeze drowned the battle, the cracking timber, the latest charge. These reprieves came to be called acoustic shadows, where whispers remained possible. Those outside the pocket surrendered the calm in their faces, who heard every yell, the choked cries for Jesus, a twenty-gun barrage to avenge a distant battle’s Union dead. In the shadow, threat is a pantomime, as elaborate and cool as a sunset. The family dined in peace while terror’s pitch echoed well beyond their ears– the dangers, real and marching in, wondered how this group could pass the wedges of a pie, laughing in a place they could not leave.
Once I had the text, I entered this as an “imagine” prompt in Midjourney, with all punctuation removed. The images rendered were all similar to each other, and the one below is my favorite. Midjourney is powerful, and it captures the feel of shadows, cypress trees or moss, with a bit of southern flavor.
I then took the text and ran it through a text-to-voice AI (murf.ai), using a voice simply identified as “David” and “Young Adult.” Readers, meet David:
Finally, I moved the full audio file into a chopped-up beat I made in GarageBand borrowing some of the strings and keys from Andrew Bird’s “Bloodless.” Andrew Bird’s original song is immaculate, so check it out sometime. I can’t recommend that entire album enough.
And here is the finished product. “Acoustic Shadows” via Midjourney, murf.ai, GarageBand, Andrew Bird, and the age old poetry of Chuck Rybak.