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Poems


Suite from "Der Rosenkavalier"

As played by the National Symphony Orchestra

"Sometime you must see the opera,"
Peter says afterward.
"Wonderful opera," sighs Dan.

Again we are chatting
outside the Concert Hall,
three gay men in middle years

watching symphony-goers
drain down red staircases.
"It's set in Vienna -- " Peter begins

and Dan interrupts:
"An aging courtesan
takes a younger lover -- "

" -- played by a woman,
one of those trouser roles."
"It's very long -- "

"It's four hours!"
" -- and complicated -- "
" -- and it ends so sadly."

"The courtesan realizes
she just doesn't have it any more -- "
"-- she's too old -- "

" -- so she gives up
the young lover -- "
" -- it's so sad." And just then

two handsome men
still in their 20's
stroll past arm-in-arm

without even noticing us.
Dan's eyes track their progress,
seeing right through me

(single gay men over 40
are often invisible).
"Oh my," Pete exhales.

"It's Rosenkavalier, abridged,"
I tell them, staring too.
"For modern audiences."



November, 2001


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