Three Dreams About Elliott Carter
IMy aunt sets out the cookies, and we wait.
The sunlight crawls across the floor. The chair—
The green one near the door— is empty. Late,
A ticking fills the room, then BANG! he’s there
And starts in right away: “I loathe your town.
A worthless, wasted effort getting here.
What music are you playing? Turn it down,
And while you’re on your feet, get me a beer.”
I let him know the composition’s mine —
Encomium for brass and children’s choir.
He doesn’t flinch. “I sacrifice my time,
And that’s the best I’m able to inspire?”
Apollo sniffed, and Orpheus went mad.
I tell my sister, “This guy’s worse than dad.”
want … ?” He
IIII’ve got it now. I know it cold —
The tempo modulations,
The braided orchestrations.
Outside my bedroom, in the hall,
The newel at his hip,
I tell him everything he’s ever done.
And when I’m through, a silence hits
Like rests beyond a twelve-tone chord.
He looks me in the eye without expression,
Takes one step forward, shakes my hand.
“Goodbye,” he says
And turns and stumps off