ROCHESTER: The View from An Old Room

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  • Music Only


ROCHESTER: The View from An Old Room

Not a single jet in the sky. 
Enrico Caruso singing 
from the Metropolitan Opera. 
In 1910, the first distant sound of 
one bee flying toward 
your ear waiting like a flower, 
until the entire hive is circling 
and the noise complicates 
the process of human thought. 

How did we cross 
that barrier of nothing 
louder and more insistent than 
thunder and lightning? 
Why did we finally 
record and amplify? 
At first, it was only 
moving lips and 
whatever was in the eyes. 
No one sang, 
Then silence cracked 
like an eggshell 
drilled by a jackhammer.

ROCHESTER: The View from An Old Room

Is there a piano bar 
in the old hotel 
where we can listen to 
stories about love and loss 
spun into gold by 
Frankie and Doris, 
Bing and Billie, 
Louie and Peggy, 
all the"famous singers of the 1950s," 
a gallery of the immortal dead. 
Voices from an unscheduled seance, 
footsteps followed 
to the attic and down into 
the basement where 
you've hidden something 
behind the furnace.

In those secret rooms at 
Clinton and Main, 
what else besides 
shots were fired 
into the screaming atmosphere 
behind silent doors? 
What besides blood was spilled 
by the crooked deals 
of New York politicians? 
How many bouts 
of lust and shame 
were considered 
in the ladies' dining room, 
quiet tears rolling down into the consomme. 

We keep the postcards of our love 
and disappointments. 
We even hold onto 
the embarrassments 
where we could have used 
a friendly voice that said, 
"Go no further down 
"the passage of this comedy." 

This is where 
the dust has been gathered 
and where each eye goes dry, 
each whisper goes forth 
with banners and brass bands, 
eventually silent 
in the Untold When 
we speak no more 
and disappear before 
another word of 
love or nonsense 
penetrates the world 
waiting for nothing but 
the next work week of creation 
where we might rest 
on the seventh day 
and listen to the traffic 
humming everywhere 
in the near and distant city.