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Sport 30: Peter Black-Real Fiction

Gregory O'Brien — Dark Room

page 52

Gregory O'Brien

Dark Room

after Peter Black's ‘Getting Better’

And wasn't it the Fifth Symphony, you said,
was the musical equivalent of

‘You're under arrest’ or ‘How do you like this
my sinister look’ or ‘Hey

that's me on the rococo bridge’, and that's mine:
the head, shoulders and startled gaze

of eternity. At the end of the day—as every day
must end, folding in

upon itself like those colourful vistas that
are put to sleep each night, concertinaed in brochures,

distributed among bridges and off-ramps. As the small print
murmurs, we are all just passing through

this stationary world which, you could say,
makes us tourists, lost in the foliage

of our summer shirts or in the encroaching evening
of these sunglasses which wrap around

everything. Like the best composers, you said, tourists
should travel lightly, never spill anything

in the concert halls and adjoining towns of the inner ear,
where the keyboard is only a picket-fence,

the orchestra a black and white photograph
of the sky, and the pianist's hand,

mid-concerto, a shop-window
crowded with busts of Beethoven.