I was a bum in San Francisco but once managed
to go to a symphony concert along with the well-dressed people
and the music was good but something about the
audience was not
and something about the orchestra
and the conductor was
not,
although the building was fine and the
acoustics perfect
I preferred to listen to the music alone
on my radio
and afterwards I did go back to my room and I
turned on the radio but
then there was a pounding on the wall:
“SHUT THAT GOD-DAMNED THING OFF!”
 
there was a soldier in the next room
living with his wife
and he would soon be going over there to protect
me from Hitler so
I snapped the radio off and then heard his
wife say, “you shouldn’t have done that.”
and the soldier said, “FUCK THAT GUY!”
which I thought was a very nice thing for him
to tell his wife to do.
of course,
she never did.
 
anyhow, I never went to another live concert
and that night I listened to the radio very
quietly, my ear pressed to the
speaker.
 
war has its price and peace never lasts and
millions of young men everywhere would die
and as I listened to classical music I heard them making love, desperately and
mournfully, through Shostakovich, Brahms,
Mozart, through crescendo and climax,
and through the shared
wall of our darkness.

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