Symphony No. 3

Trumpeteers bite their instruments
over the darkened stage; the Eroica symphony
undisplayed by these tired little boy drummers.

Holy Cow! Slouched in my seat I drift a wild dream,
of twentynine rabbits running in place, eight men
with rifles encased in silver tripping over ears
and falling down a slope of dandelions –

I wake! Jerk and jab my fellow patron, who has
the eyes of an orca whale, lips a brandy so pale
it looks spilled over her taut line. Displeased

she tugs her dress further under herself
as Beethoven is once again attempted to be
resurrected from his swift aging grave;
here we are again,
it’s another finely wrought stumbling across
Other Men’s Flowers.

Believers applaud, roses are flung up towards
the lights. I taste the brassy desire upon my chin,
chipped by repetition, hands slamming together
as though trying to knock a fire from out
the headstone.

Who is Beethoven? I ask silently to myself,
while the voices disperse and the aisles begin
to flow, men and women heading back –
wherever ‘back’ is, I don’t know.

63 compositions, 32 of them on the piano.
Clearly a favorite… No? I go home, research
pianos, scroll through images and pages and
schematics, wondering if Beethoven was snared
by the mystique of those tight wires,

that gaping mouth of 88 teeth, perhaps he’s
in there still? Still getting gnawed on.
I think of his neurons, being nibbled by notes
parading across a sheet of crinkled paper,

like me? And these words. I can’t find
these words, I never find these words.
They pounce out of shadows, and bury me.

I look at a photo of a grand piano, admire its spiffy
tuxedo look. I say aloud: “There lies Beethoven.”
No wonder at all, why he stays where he is.

I look at my desk. I pat it.
“Here’s where I lie.” I say, then get up to put
the kettle on; Symphony No. 3 rolling about my brain –
I’m chasing it. A cat darting after a dangling string…

Really, who could ever hope to know Beethoven,
save for his lovers. Listen, to Sonata No. 14.

He’s there, somewhere. Wayward and lost,
hoping to be moored on Julie’s breast, spinning
his top, planting down tiny ink flags on balconies
with sighs echoing his storm over an empty plain.

Ah yes. Sighs.


Title page of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E♭ major (Italian Sinfonia Eroica, Heroic Symphony)  which shows his erasure of dedication of the work to Napoleon.  Image credit: Wikipedia/Getty Images – Thank you.  

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