Fantastical War at the Conservatory

by Neesa Suncheuri

A flash of sound, coming from
The wave of his wand…
He summons powers from
Violins here,
Horns there.

The conductor,
He, that superb magician,
Dressed as a Victorian with coat and tails,
This famed sorcerer, he has the ability to
Revive Mozart from the dead.
This music that he
Coaxes from
His diligent orchestra…
It shows to us spectators indeed,
The inner neural workings of this
Loved composer’s

And as we listen,
Our minds become
Mozart’s brain itself.
We literally hear the way his brain
Aided him in perceiving his world
Over two hundred years ago.

All this, only possible with
The conductor.
He, that superb magician.
The famed sorcerer.

From below,
I gaze.
I look up in wonder.
And his music surrounds me…

From behind,
There are five pairs of violists,
A modest military regiment,
And an assistant commander next to me as well.
They all follow my lead,
Which I convey by
Holding my weaponous instrument high,
Making exaggerated gestures,
Which they are obliged to copy.

But do they copy?
Or do I fancy?

To the left, some cellos.
I try to make eye contact with their
Leader. Yet she ignores me, and simply
Leans forward,
With her intelligent bow,
And varnished wood glistening in the light,
Sword and shield,
Or perhaps arrow
From quiver…

Then I look up,
He is there with his wand,
Casting his spell as I
Follow without will or
Reason.  So I believe.

All this, do I see in him,
The conductor,
The magician who has replaced my mind with
His spell, that sorcerer…
Indeed, he is the
Source of my worship.

To my right,
I see these violins,
That army,
United with superior discipline.
Their bows all synchronized
In the same direction without error.
And the conductor,
That guiding magician,
The all-knowing sorcerer…
He beckons to her with a
Covert glance,
I see it.
She, his
Concertmistress, his
Leadress, his assistress…

She is an attractive woman with cheeks as plain as a doll’s.
She wields her bow well, with the feminine deft of an Olympic fencer.
Yet she is a poor copy of the ideal violinist, which never has probably existed anyway.

Yet he trusts her!
He knows her!
Is this symphony theirs?

IS IT??!!


Were ever, that I were so skilled as she.
Were ever, that I had
Spent my childhood more wisely,
Practiced more smartly,
So that I could play the best, and that
I could be the female who
The sorcerer trusts to
Never make a mistake,
And make obedient sounds,
And be constantly attractive,
Plain cheeks and all.

There is no correlation between
Magic and battle.
And yet…
Victories feel miraculous,
And losses feel unlucky.

For all the unanswered questions I have,
I close my eyes
And ignore the fighting
On the field and within myself,
And I hear the only person that truly matters in this situation…

Mozart.  His presence erases everyone else’s,
And his music reprograms my brain.
My neurons fire in different directions,
And then I merge and
Dance with Mozart’s

And he becomes my friend.
He makes me see that
I have no enemy.
There is no war and
These musicians are my friends.

And yet, I am still lonely, in my


Neesa Suncheuri
Staff Writer – Poetry

Neesa Suncheuri works as a mental health peer specialist at a housing agency in Queens, New York.  She is the founder of a Facebook discussion group for peer specialists and other recovery enthusiasts, entitled “What is Wellness?  A Mental Health Discussion Group.”  Much of her creative inspiration is rooted in her now-tamed schizophrenia.  She writes poetry and fiction, and maintains a blog called Unlearning Schizophrenia.  She is also a singer/songwriter, and an enthusiast for the German language and culture.  Follow her on Twitter at @neesasuncheuri.

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