Things You Don’t Know about Me and You

When I play piano

children sing

like magpies

so loudly

I lose my place

I think the ukulele

is a real instrument

to be treated like a violin

and not like

the kazoo you found

in your father’s

handkerchief drawer

and I was a tenor

and high F# was

my last strong note

before dissolving

into a spastic

tremulous shriek.

and as dog persons go

I am a cat person

though of course

I know dogs

have hearts

of molten gold

and cats silver brains

that tell them to walk

across the piano keys

ruining everything

to get their head

under a moving hand.

and yes,

I like both Gregorian and

Mozarbic chants

because

they are two kinds

of passion

one is like

my passion

because it flows

evenly and solemnly

but at its worst

sounds like

the endless tapping of keys

on an old typewriter

but when sung right

say by Solemnes

at first vespers

like the voice

Augustine heard

the one that said

Lift me and read me!

I am familiar, familiar

like the dull hum

of the swirling fan

you have learned

to ignore, familiar.

But you are Africa,

you are Spain and Babylon

and the Tigris running

incense burning to

slice the hot days into

vapours of dizzy grace

the taste of ginger

coffee,  cardamom,

crushed eucalyptus

for my dull dull soul

a voice lost between

weeping and rejoicing,

like the tears of sacrifice,

when Abraham thought

he heard God’s voice

say Stop,

like young lambs in spring

a sound of tentative praise

when you walked into my room

and  looked into my eyes

and everyone

became a stranger.

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