Friday, December 23, 2005


He sings arpeggios
in the Barcelona subway station
as if it were a giant tiled shower:
LalalaLA, lalalala, deedeedum
a thin, tall older man
with hair carefully combed
moustache waxed and immaculate
positioned so a ceiling light
catches the face of a Goya aristocrat
LalalaLA, lalalala, deedeedum
I imagine perhaps a composer
rehearsing a chance phrase
then understand it is a performance
in a private spotlight
when I see that his suit is slept-in
dusty mustard-coloured polyester
worn through at cuffs and elbows and heels
LalalaLA, lalalala, deedeedum
and I realize his thin brittleclear tenor
echoes notes on a shouldered radio
turned loud down the platform.
LalalaLA, lalalala, deedeedum
A youth across the tracks
who seems to know this game
smirks watch-me mischief to his mates
and loudly hums
four famous notes of Beethoven
and the Goya man doesn't lose a beat
begins waving his arms
LalalaLA, lalalala, deedeedum
and conducting the Fifth
intricately cascades the two sets
of found notes together into
a new melody that for a moment
stops the station with its beauty
LalalaLA, lalalala, BomBomBomBOM!
then from far up the tunnel
the train begins to rumble in
whooshes wind into the station ahead of it
and he bows, spins on scuffed shoes
is blown in a great leap up the stairs
taking his song with him
but as doors begin hissing closed
his original echo becomes a bravura
triumphantly stolen back
from that young musical vandal
to float smiling down behind him
LalalaLA, lalalala, deedeedum!

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