Passages

Ten musical passages from Bridge, plus a bonus from Door to Door:

Would it be the same if Frankie were a drummer, his wingtips tapping the pedal of his hi-hat, and Johnny a piano player? It all falls into place if Johnny is a piano player and Frankie a dancer. (from “Ripe”)

When I got home at the end of the day, Ocho was there too and they were folding up their tarps but still listening to the mariachi music they’d brought with them and playing it louder than I’d ever dared to play anything. (from “10½”)

The entire prison from warden to dishwasher would stop what they’re doing, not just entertained but rapt, listening to “Greensleeves.” (from “The Rock”)

I looked at the florist’s card, three words in David’s small, neat handwriting: O soave fanciulla. I didn’t know whether to lay the card on my tongue like a communion wafer or feed it into the shredder. (from “Apocalypse”)

It’s lead into the bars of a cell or a stained-glass window … lead into the radiators distilling moonshine in the Blue Ridge of Georgia and the batteries that power car radios blaring Jay-Z or Pink …. (from Body Integrity Identity Disorder”)

The audience had sat on the floor all night—nine hours!—watching, listening to gamelan music. That is a commitment that families watching Cats at the Curran can’t even imagine. (from “Shadow Play”)

Music. He’d analyze the trajectory of the bullet, the equation of its brief parabola, and translate it to a musical phrase (E-flat, F, D-flat, A-flat). He’d hear the tenderness in its majestic dissonance. (from “Your Majesty”)

Once I saw Good Friday services at Carmel Mission, and at one point the choir sang memorably, Someday you’ll find that I’m not there, as if God were Hank Williams. (from “I’m Not There”)

Margot Fonteyn practiced for decades before she danced Giselle with Nureyev and almost danced him to death. I made the same point in twenty minutes when I was 24, in a studio apartment, with no practice at all. (from “Capital Punishment”)

Think of the sixty instruments in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (that’s not even counting the chorus) or the torrents of a Chopin nocturne. Now think of trying to express all that with your feet. With blisters. And if you can’t express it with your body, it doesn’t mean much, does it? (from “Joe Blow From Kokomo”)

From Door to Door:

She lives in that romantic foreign country of all people who live alone: the country, no matter how bleak, where people can play their favorite song, ‘Stella Blue,’ a hundred times in a row, and turn on their lamp at three in the morning just to see the shadow of the lampshade fall on the wall. (from “Why I Am Not a Novelist”)