Lessons in Period

Music History: he emphasized
the Middle Ages' pre-polyphony
more than half a semester. By its end
we'd limped--barely--into High Baroque.
He read verbatim out of a textbook
and made us memorize its clotted prose,
but his alter ego was much glitzier.

Sponsor of the college marching band,
he led them up a candy-strewn thoroughfare
each autumn at homecoming, uniformed.
One year, after triangles and drums
had shaken alumni flesh and Doppler effect
depressed their sound, an ambulance's siren
aired the arch power of dissonance.

In a crimson V-neck at Ireland Field,
the student senate rep, possessed of bleak
news, wrestled with the delicate: "He was
rushed to hospital, and . . . and . . . let us have
a moment of silence." Charging out, our assistant
football coach grabbed away the microphone
and, after feedback, verbalized harsh fact:

"I don't think you people understood.
He died. Professor died." So there we had it--
blunt speech, offensive and defensive lines,
opposed to flowing monody in Latin
nobody understood when he gently placed
the needle at recorded Kyrie
in our classroom, a cortège in his heart.

by Mark Blaeuer

Mark Blaeuer is originally from Illinois, but he has also resided in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Utah. His M.A. is in anthropology from the University of Arkansas, and he currently lives and works near Hot Springs, Arkansas. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous magazines, including Blue Unicorn, The Dark Horse, The Edge City Review, Nimrod, Pivot, The Raintown Review, RE:AL, Slant, and Westview.

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