Academic journal article Field

The Nameless City

Academic journal article Field

The Nameless City

Article excerpt

No, there is a German word for beautiful sadness,

my coach said in Ottawa, a little drunk

at the hotel bar. Coming up with a different count

each time for the bridges across the two rivers

of his youth, near his little village two hours north

of Berlin. It sounds like that word for flawed marble-

in the Italian-that somehow makes the sculpture dearer.

There was also a word for music dying

into the hills-verschallen, verschollen, something like that.

A child at a nearby table was drawing the gallows

for a game of Hangman. My coach's knees ruined,

as my father's are, ACL & MCL surgery, the works,

then the replacement. And where do they go after?

Perhaps there is a grand migration of parts each spring.

A lost island of limbs, kidneys & ligaments. A palazzo

of cellos strung with tendons. Now the body begins

upon the page, head, torso. I heard the Bach Suites

once in Hamilton, down a street, I say, somewhere

in the avenues. I ran around the block while Casals

found the score in a Paris bookshop last century,

& practiced for thirteen years before he performed it.

While Rostropovich shook over his cello, playing

the Suites by heart beside the Berlin Wall as it was torn down. …

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