1. Mozart’s View

    In Vienna we followed the feverish musician
    around for three days.
    These are the steps he ran on, crawled:
    we felt them with bare hands,
    sucked the grain of the roofbeam, a smudge of
    soot from the chimney; dust we licked
    from the cracks in the floor.

    Out of the headphones of Japanese women
    the Lacrimosa crackled; Spaniards whistled
    the Figaro; school children ran around
    the glass cases. Within these walls,
    yes, to the measure of these rooms.
    We pressed our cheeks against the window
    and saw what had been seen: Blood Alley.

    Anna Enquist.
    Translated by Lloyd Haft.

  2. Friends Within the Darkness

    I can remember starving in a
    small room in a strange city
    shades pulled down, listening to
    classical music
    I was young I was so young it hurt like a knife
    because there was no alternative except to hide as long
    as possible—
    not in self-pity but with dismay at my limited chance:
    trying to connect.
    the old composers — Mozart, Bach, Beethoven,
    Brahms were the only ones who spoke to me and
    they were dead.
    finally, starved and beaten, I had to go into
    the streets to be interviewed for low-paying and
    by strange men behind desks
    men without eyes men without faces
    who would take away my hours
    break them
    piss on them.
    now I work for the editors the readers the
    but still hang around and drink with
    Mozart, Bach, Brahms and the
    some buddies
    some men
    sometimes all we need to be able to continue alone
    are the dead
    rattling the walls
    that close us in.

    By Charles Bukowski