Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Arpeggio for the Torturer's Horse by Howie Good

It’s music written for prodigious instruments
not yet invented, and which ordinary flesh and bone

rehearse even so, but without the conductor,
who keeps to his dressing room beneath the stage,

searching the phone book for the address
of the Commissariat of Devastated Regions.

All week long, surly drunks have handed out flyers
on the corner announcing tonight’s performance,

rumored to feature violinists who’ve been chained
in the basement for years and fed on table scraps.

Now, as the orchestra tunes up, animal-like grunts
pour into the street from the high, dark windows

of the concert hall, and the few people passing
at this late hour, their eyes on the ground, quicken

their steps toward home.

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