Tchaikovsky’s tchotchkes, cluttering up
Tchaikovsky’s office. By which we mean
the salon, its instruments, the vacant staves
waiting for semiquavers to swing from them,
like apes. Did Tchaikovsky crack his knuckles.
Did he flex his toes, constrained though they were
by stocking and buckle. Did he annoy
the local graveyards, local farmers – did he
irritate his neighbours, did they grumble
as he wrangled with overtures and pas de deux.
Did he suspect that his vocation might
have been a gamble, business hours spent
tinkering with scales, with refrains, with phrases
that longed to resolve themselves, simply. Did
Tchaikovsky contemplate his legacy, his rivals,
the lottery of reputation, did he wonder to whom
the honours would be allotted, in the end. Who
can tell us – who bore witness? The knick knacks,
of course, the artefacts, busts with their marble
cataracts, the listening figurines. They’re protected,
now, up on a high shelf or tucked into a vitrine
whose temperature is always pleasant. They’ve
been arranged alongside all the familiar debris
on which a genius finger might have alighted.
Are they delighted at the rapt attention they receive,
these inheritors, this former bric-a-brac, and
do they think about Tchaikovsky – do they
catch up and reminisce, the tchotchkes, now that
they’re valuable. Now that they’re treasures –
do they remember – are they grateful.
- 99: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 98: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones