sidebrow

Letters of Composers

The book she mailed me for my long convalescence begins, “My dear Friedrich, I am so grieved that I could send you only the first volume of G’s encyclopedia. The man I mentioned who was going to Turin was unable to fit the second in his travelling bag.” 



Right away the heavy materiality of the 18th century — a mule, a wooden trunk, a leather case.


The brutal bric-a-brac unspools: candles, towels, shovels, bookends, draperies, carpet beaters, funnels, andirons, boot scrapers. In a more up-to-date version, glorious orphans streak across the screen. Murmurs of meaning momentarily lash the brain before they fade. Lightness unskinned, unpeeled, like fish bones laid along the rim of a plate, a kind of aftereffect, except omnipresent.


If I close my eyes, I still see you, the good one, not the one who trapped me in the elevator, but you.