August 1999

Tim Suermondt

PICTURE NOT YET AVAILABLE   This marks an author's first appearance in an online magazineTim Suermondt's poems have appeared in Poetry, Poet and Critic, Southern Poetry Review, Indiana Review, River Styx and Graffiti Rag. He is the author of the chapbook: The Dangerous Women with Their Cellos (1998). He lives in Jamaica, Queens.
Beethoven's Starling   

We can't know for sure
if he had one like Mozart
and it's just as well.

More mind than heart,
Ludwig would have broken
his starling's neck,

or less brutally, tossed it
out the window, mocking it
with a rhythmic whistle.

Symphonies, he was fond of saying,
were 99% willed, 1% inspired
and a composer, any composer

needed an iron will
when performing on the road,
Winters always the worst,

another night alone
in Wiesbaden, ulm, Lubeck...
He did enjoy writing in bed,

claimed being in pajamas
kept his anxiert manageable.
But he was German enough

not to be seduced by mere comforts
or the idea of lasting hope
beautiful or otherwise

in an innocent starling's song.

My Father's First Date with my Mother    Click to hear in real audio

He stands on the narrow street,
tries to woo her
with a popular song.

Never mind that his singing
makes the dogs growl—
it's a question

of romance, not voice.
The woman of his affection
steps out on her balcony,

carrying a rose in one hand,
a wooden pitcher of water
in the other.

She douses him and laughs
and he laughs back,
admitting he asked for it.

She lets the rose go—he watches it
flutter down like a moth,
hears her say: "Kommen Sie up."



Tim Suermondt: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue EightThe Cortland Review