Brahms, Revisited without Tears for Today

Johannes Brahms


Brahms, Revisited without Tears for Today

Brahms has the twitchy fuse,
lighting me in acidic
flames and the arguments inherited
from old elephants, between piano and orchestra,

are trudging – me, I verses the world,
and I’m losing
but I’m pounding the keyboard
until I get a break, a breath, a sigh,

and I show this grace
that is un-Brahms
but is
Brahms at his greatest,

and when the horns arrive
in red army coats, you know
victory is grasped with dirty,
dry, crisp finger nails, but it

never happens, never consummates.
I am finished, a heaping
pile of slippery dung
when Brahms is done.

And as a practicing drunk, the tears
would wilt tarnished cheeks and create heat
emanating around thorny eye sockets,

but these days are desert dry, pain layered
and hidden and only Brahms, only the
master knows, knows the truth, and now,
at least I rest, I stop, I pray, lost.



p.s. – Embedded below is the referenced piece, performed by my favorite conductor and one of my favorite pianists. The exposition of the first movement lasts 3:45, so patience is needed in waiting for the arguments between piano and orchestra. The climax/recapitulation of the first movement at about 13:20 is one of the most intense sections of music I know along with the ending of the first movement. It is immense music. The third movement is a kick ass jam if you make it that far…


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  1. #1 by Carl on March 14, 2013 - 12:06 am

    “to sit in a small room and drink a can of beer … while listening to Brahms … is to have come back from a dozen wars alive” – Bukowski

    I don’t drink cans of beer anymore, but the same thing happens with tea.

  2. #2 by clinock on March 14, 2013 - 12:54 am

    You know as Bukowski knows and Brahms knows. What you have surrendered has been a sacrifice beyond duty but you …”have come back from a dozen wars alive.” Stunning writing Carl – I am awed…

    • #3 by Carl on March 18, 2013 - 10:27 pm

      Thank you, John. Your visit and your comment means the world to me.

  3. #4 by Michele Seminara on March 14, 2013 - 1:43 am


    • #5 by Carl on March 18, 2013 - 10:27 pm

      Thank you, Michele. I appreciate your comment.

  4. #6 by Carl D'Agostino on March 15, 2013 - 9:35 am

    Beatles forever.

    • #7 by Carl on March 18, 2013 - 10:29 pm

      Carl, you simply haven’t aged enough to love Brahms. I love the Beatles, too, but they don’t grab my heart and pull it out through my ribs.

  5. #8 by adamfromnorway on March 18, 2013 - 3:27 pm

    Thanks Carl! I am an ex-pianist, and Brahms was always my favorite composer.

    • #9 by Carl on March 18, 2013 - 10:33 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Adam.

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