My Friend, The Pianist

For Michael Caldwell

 

I want him
to pull out
every song
in his repertoire,
Beethoven, Mozart,
Rachmaninoff, Chopin,
the music nobody
can perfectly pin down,
untwine the notes
from his fingers,
unleash his aging body,
take the fear
and the almost-fear,
and the love,
especially the love,
and then
and then
play them
on his piano
and see how
they sing
and his heart jumps!

 

Inspired by a slightly more solemn poem, My Friend’s Divorce, by Naomi Shihab Nye.

 

 

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Clouds

How long does a cloud live:

a short, wet fleeting life

concentrated on the burden

of letting go. Joy is saying

no more holding on, no more

water, no more dust,

no more hail, no more.

 

Does a cloud suffer from

rootlessness? The cirrus is

an airy nomad moving

like lost feathers from a pillow.

Does it get sick of being

unbearably light? A refugee

of night and day. A member

of the neverending diaspora.

 

Do clouds get lonely

floating alone

in an expanse of blue sky?

Do the cotton-ball cumulus

brothers and sisters get tired

of sharing space?

Do they yearn to touch

the earth like a lover:

gently, softly, often?

Does the fog wish for weight;

to embody, to be present

and permanent?

Do clouds know they are loved

no matter how menacing

they look?

 

Do they see more than us

and hold onto it like a tragedy

or a comedy?

Do clouds try to tell us

secrets? Do we know how

to read their wisdom

before it’s too late?

 

Do clouds spend more

of their lives looking

up or looking down?

Is it hard being in between;

the gatekeepers of the earth

and beyond?

Does this make them

want to fall into the ocean

and never get back up?