Perhaps, It Should Be Bach

Mahler adds a false drama to my winter afternoon.

I’m the bear who’s been torn to bits by the shotgun,

but I’m not. I’m the silent mouse, daintily crawling,

searching for approval, strangled by all of the thorns

of ice falling with aggression from the moldy brick

buildings. The scampering of the Mahler violins

makes me jump on top of the stale structures, and

the horns, the most powerful horns with the trombones,

they urge me to tear into the buildings with giant claws

made from plastic straws which never transport

the vanilla shake that helps fix my terrible moods,

but the buildings smash back at me at impossible

diagonal angles, shrinking me, forcing me to realize

who or what it is that I am. The man in the cafeteria

Speaks on the phone as if with his lover, and he’s

terribly ugly, but he creates life worth living, while I

pull the shards of ice out of my body, while Mahler’s lush,

glazed violins sing of unspeakably beautiful children, and

just before the children die, hope bubbles in my silent zones,

Trashed again by a man who is really a mouse, a parasite.


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  1. #1 by Hudson Howl on January 8, 2013 - 9:40 pm

    Strangely, this made me smile Carl, when a hour ago I thought it would not be impossible to do so tonight It was not a willing smile more cynical.

    As I returned home from walking Elvira through our quiet village. A police car at the neighbours, His hand on his gun, pounding the door, “Police, Open Up”. The door gives, bursts open. “Hands up, hands up, turn around, turn around”. The cuffs were forced on. Small children screaming. The adult voices had gone silent. If only I heard Bach instead. Absurd. Perhaps, in a few days or so, I should open my window, an point speakers that way. Though I doubt the adults would heed and though I would hope, I doubt Gustav Mahler could heal the children.

    • #2 by Carl on January 10, 2013 - 9:30 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Sometimes, a little piece hits a certain bone at the right time, and for that, we’re all lucky.

  2. #3 by clinock on January 8, 2013 - 9:59 pm

    Amazing poem Carl – as always you shift my foundation…

    • #4 by Carl on January 10, 2013 - 9:31 pm

      Thank you for your comment, John. It is reassuring to hear such positive feedback.

  3. #5 by Carl D'Agostino on January 10, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    Mahler – I don’t know this allusion so I am missing this component to understand the poem. What is Mahler ?

    • #6 by Carl on January 10, 2013 - 9:37 pm

      Gustav Mahler was the German master from the end of the Romantic era. His music is about ninety five times as emotional as Beethoven. Sometimes his music is too melodramatic for me. He always said that when he wrote a symphony, he wanted to create a world, and I think he succeeded for the most part. The music that inspired this was #2, “The Resurrection.” It goes from the most tragic music you can imagine to the most triumphant you can imagine within about two hours. I’m going to look for it on YouTube and update the post if I can…

  4. #7 by joanna on January 16, 2013 - 9:04 pm

    love the way this wends and winds through beauty and through terrible sadness. strong write, Carl.

    • #8 by Carl on January 24, 2013 - 8:47 pm

      Thank you, Joanna. You’re very kind!

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