Instead of a dry
caucus of drumbeats,
there was ice —
the clink and ting
of melt, drinks
the mood indigo
the pianist improvised.
There were cubes
in motion finding
their way to water,
jingling the sides
of each glass in
a series of reminders.
In this syncopation,
the heart may
stray, disorient your
karma. If it does,
find an allegro and
riff to revive the beat.
Just a dusting, the weatherman says,
my hair turning grey, streaks of white.
As the snow forms little paper weights
the leaves do not relent. White bewilders green.
Am I coming or going? So much to remember
and forget. The snow is premature,
still October. A bonfire of ideas brings
last summer's harvest of heat to mind;
red leaves rain down. Just a dusting,
the forecast said. An increase in blood pressure,
the sense of bending, being weighed down.
But it's only October. Perhaps I'm getting
ahead of myself. Snow-burdened trees begin
to split apart triggering what sounds like rifle shots.
How would the ancients explain it: winter
attacking the Parthenon, Zeus and Hera
at each other's throats, sound bites of
an old religious schism or simply a dusting
from on high. Is snow part of the aging process
or are the forces of nature reneging?
It's cold now, the moon's surface pure white,
a dusting turned distant. Dead ahead
lies the winter landscape of my journey —
my awkward shuffle and paper skin,
the whisper of my voice.
"…in the early 20th century, piano
tuners outnumbered members of any
other trade in English insane asylums."
— A Romance on Three Legs, Glen Gould's
Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano
by Katie Hafner
about an old clock
rattles me —
perhaps it's life's metronome
hanging by a hair
or monotony's promise
of solitary confinement
ticking away. I listen
to my heart keep time
as one might hear the note
a piano tuner repeats again
and again to get it right.
The note pushes back: tick, tick,
ticking like Chinese water torture.
As the piano tuner listens,
he adjusts the note
distilling it pitch perfect
unlike anything normal.
And then moves on.
But I am stuck, the last
note incessantly drumming.
How to get over it
when the next
will not come.
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