Taking no prisoners. Including herself.


5 minutes to show time I have to use the WC and oh dear! the line and so I get ushered into the men’s room (is this okay?!) to use the western toilet while three men stand at urinals. This, after Lonely Planet has instructed not even to sit next to a male, or make eye contact, lest it be perceived as flirting or an indescretion of sorts.

Aside from the advertising (plastic banners strung awkwardly across centuries-old stone columns, namely Siemens, but also Toyota, Vodaphone, Toys R Us…) there is timelessness. My chair wobbles  because the stones each leg sits on is uneven. It is humid. I’m in the 10th row; I feel like I could touch the viola.

I slip away.

Tenderly stroking the strings like a soft caress against cheek, he makes violin notes form on my peach fuzz. Long drags cello float up to the cross, and loop back around the dome, haloing the three musicians.

I feel blood surge in thighs.

Recklessly rocking his cello like a bad child, or leaving lover. I’m sorry to punish you. I love you so achingly. or Don’t go, please. I need you. So soft the melody I have to keep writing, keep writing keep writing, or cry.

Like the intoxication of the Vietnamese Nat’l Symphony – only this time I’m not even drunk.

Amazing how those three, like young boys playing, pretend dueling, waving sticks around and waving back and forth — can produce such glory, skipping gently on beds of worn white marbel walls.

-makes me want to unlatch myself, pour everything out onto this day, make this moment: pure pure pure. -makes me realize how, like the old brick stone walls of the church, so many small holes there are yet to fill of me: empty empty empty. -i want to be held.

The music assures. I am held.

Deep round base perfuming up, finger-prickings of frictional bows: fill me, fill me, fill me. back and forth they rock back and forth back&forth, backforth bfbf way back way forward way wu wei.

The violin: on the edge of his chair he cradles his intrument, cheek-side, like a blankie.

I would hear a baby fit and cry, or a car horn, and realize there were neither, nothing anywhere near, but were phantom sounds in the music. Such true notes, my brain had no other way to recognize them, but from a quotidian source; when really my brain had never heard such singular Truth.

Middway through the performance my mother fell ill, put her head against my shoulder, as I imagined I had done as a young child. One hand wrapped around her, the other grasping my pen, the music. These three and i, opening up me.

A man’s watch, flickering like the sun rising at midnight.

§326 · June 9, 2007 · Couch-hop, Location-Location · · [Print]

2 Comments to “Notes Taken While Listening to Bach Variations in an old Turkish Byzantine Church”

  1. bob says:

    wait… this can’t be goldberg variations. played by multiple strings? i can’t imagine it. not to mention the blood surging down there.


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