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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The Question Box

 

I, distracted

from my own unraveling,

was afraid you’d come undone with me.

I watched my own heart disintegrating

into pixels on the screen of a game.

Two-dimensional play:

You can go back but never past

the beginning where you still had

full health; a life to spare on love.

Or, forward

where there’s always an ending in sight,

the drop-off into the next level.

 

What’s in the in-between?

They say the magic happens here,

in the mess of day two,

when the monsters come out to eat.

With each step, I lost a little more

of me and you.

But, isn’t it funny that with the undoing

comes clarity, while the fabric hangs

looser and looser?

Falling apart and liberation

are two sides of the same coin.

 

 

So, I’m building a new house

with bricks found on the roadside;

the same pieces that nearly killed me

as they fell from the sky.

With my pen, I draw the outlines

of windows, the blueprints for forgiveness.

Inside, you’re a phone call away.

Inside, the blood flows a little easier;

the ink forms symbols of hope in space.

 

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Featured image credit: Ray Che (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rayche1989/5203972988)