John a'Beckett


The Wagner Room


“Sorry, sir. Booked out.. but then...”
The patronne’s voice is calm, you’re
penniless again in Paris, facing doom
and banking on the hope her “then..
..again” - will mean a room.

“.Eh bien, there is..the Wagner one,
“That’s fine”.You sign and slip up to
the premier etage, aware you’re in
a debt of gratitude whose depth
is verging on Wagnerian

and gingerly approach the desk
on which the “Parsifal” composer
must’ve had the opening thunder
chords in music mind, . But find
you’re also forced to wonder-

was it this room’s compression,
exile, mounting debts, Minna’s
moods, music-drama’s dreams
had him contemplate such mad
mythic and Teutonic themes?

An overture begins. The Rienzi
chords cross-fade with strums
on a guitar, some Latin Quarter
busker shouts and in the bowels
beneath the metro drums,

a duke-box Piaf bleats Love Ever
and you have a letter to dash off
that is a winding -back of tape
in which you piece together all
these bits of Paris into shape.

Submitted: Monday, December 27, 2010

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