Villa Lobos Lugs his Cello through the Amazon Jungle

by Mark Frutkin

November, 2004:

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        Villa-Lobos lugs his cello

        through the Amazon jungle.

        Where he started out is unimportant.

        Where he is headed is untrackable.

        No path threads the jungle together,

        but when he rests and plays

        each leaf takes its perfect place,

        the brown and green river

        bends and bends and never breaks.

        Birds like shattered stained-glass windows

        drawn to the quivering sound,

        blink their green eyes

        and sharpen their yellow beaks

        hoping to compete with the cello's

        music in the cool of evening.



        At night the musician lays his body

        down inside the cello

        and he feels hollow and trembly

        in his vine-draped dreams.

        The veins of his wrists are like strings.

        He dreams an entire orchestra of night

        that by morning will be nothing but dew

        its music lingering in the triple fan of leaves

        in the breathing of umbrella trees.



from Prism International, v.26/2, 1988
© 1988 Mark Frutkin. Used with permission.


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