Prosper Barter

Listening to Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”

In my brother’s apartment

there is a poster of Louis Armstrong

holding his trumpet and laughing

sitting on the palatial steps of a hotel

he wasn’t allowed to enter.


My brother has finished lugging rocks for the day

and sits with his eyes closed, carried away.

And yes, it’s about time

for him to have some fanfare


for getting up at dawn’s first grayness

for sitting on someone else’s steps, laughing

not halfway, but wide open

with all his beautiful teeth.



“Listening to Copland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man'” first appeared in Bowdoin Magazine, Spring 2014.