Later a discerning teacher caught me at this and made me fix it. Thank goodness my ear is back.
But I am struck by the fact that some atonal composers do write music that the ear can relate to. My friend Ursula Mamlok does it by playing with the edges of tone, with conflicting timbres and close intervals so that the listener is within the sounds as if poised in immobility. "Still" is a frequent tempo indication in her works.
A lot of atonal composers seem to be avoiding the physical element of sound as if making sound itself abstract is their goal.