Not one, but two

We drove home talking of the
requiem of our choir in the day-
light of ten-thirty p.m.
parked cloudberry the car
still grumbling over napoleon-
sized Nils who deems himself
King Owner, Anders who holds
his fine voice hostage while
naming his terms, Gunnar
the Entitled by Nature of
his Fluty Voice, all these crumbling
cornerstones that won’t let go
of the institution they wear like badges
like we all do, the prestige of con brio
with spirit, gusto, verv, vivacity, animation,
with get-up-and-go, but they won’t
get it up for con brio, no they are the
Gods of Good Enough, a measure
set by the effort they deign to make

while the rest of us want to sing con brio
want to rattle the three-feet-thick walls
of the medieval church, want to raise Lazarus
from the dust of the crematorium
where we rehearse on Thursday nights

ah, fuck it, I’ll quit, I can retire from choir
even though it is the one civic activity
I have always done and wanted to do
starting back at Robertsville Baptist church
Peggy Mead and I in the alto section of the choir
sitting on puritanically straight backed chairs
staring at the white pages of lines and notes
as we sang led by our ears to the soprano melody
of Just As I Am Softly And Tenderly How Great Thou Art

and later it was the first disappointment
of my marriage, the young man with star blue eyes
who promised we would always sing together in a choir
but never did – con brio was his hometown choir
this is his hometown, now mine
where at ten-thirty at night it is what anywhere else
would be called day, the last sun of April gone down
somewhere beyond the mountain fringed fjord
but the only nocturnal evidence

is the moose that appears like a granular
silhouette shadow of gray and gray against
the dun colored grass, no green here yet
in fact a mound of dirty snow taller than the moose
is to the left of the mailboxes where the moose
is having a look around at the houses
like a visitor to the neighborhood trying to see
the house number of his friend he thinks lives
somewhere around here

a car coming up the hill stops in the curve
pointed like an armed tank toward the moose’s
skinny legs that hold up its Bullwinkle bulk –
the people in the car are watching it, we
are watching it, your arm around my shoulder,
me shooting ill-fated photos with my hopeless phone

a man working near his garage just down from
the mailboxes where the moose’s huge nose
is swaying back and forth scenting for a direction
doesn’t see the moose, Moose! you shout
to warn him and as if on cue another moose
trots forth to replace this one that has decided his fate
lies on the other side of the yellow house, exit
first moose, enter moose number two as if pulled
by an invisible string to the same spot

when moose walk it is a floating motion of exaggerated
ankle bends and knee lifts, the massive body perched
on these thin bone colored legs, and still the beast
floats like a dancer who has no real regard for the solidity
of ground, air is the element of moose movement
silent progress of seemingly impossible proportions

and isn’t that what song is, music as incongruous
and as startling as this sight of the King of the Forest
among our houses, a thing that makes us all stop and gasp
and listen for what we can’t hear but is so obviously there
see what we have no evidence of but know is there
moose floating in and out of our sight
leaving no visible trace
no sound

like song sung con brio
the effect of it,
the thing you try to tell people about the next day
but can’t

they don’t know what it was like the moment
a moose materialized putting an end
to your speculation about the adherence to choir
regulations by the various choral members

shut up and watch the moose with your mouth agape
shut up and sing
con brio
whenever, wherever you can

2 thoughts on “Not one, but two

  1. ah, this was good to read again, as I have to decide in the next few weeks to continue in the choir or not… I had forgotten I felt this way! thanks for bringing my attention to it again, friend 🙂

    Like

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