Four PoemsOde to a 20-Foot Steinway Concert Grand Piano
Nights awake I think of you
r curious three-legged body, resting
in stately silence, a concert hall
full! of sound, like a secret with(in you. Oh
how the vaporous night breeds the most potent of longings!
I can see the sheen of your smooth
I can taste your scent of wood and varnish, intoxicating.
I want to run
my hands along the hard
curves of your body, shameless as the un-
thinking gentleman trailing absent
fingerprints on an auto
show Ferrari—fingerprints soon
to be buffed away by some poor worker
whose task is endless.
I want to throw open all your doors: your polish-
ed hood with its magnificent hump,
tinkly strings of steel
maturing to brass, thick and rich.
then the final silence—to be broken gently, like unfolding
hands in prayer.
the blanket off your smile with an ardent arc
of the arm, sending red cloth in rippling flight
into a heap
off your treble end. Then I will play you—
though better hands have done it before.
I will tremble
with anxiety and desire. Perhaps
I will only manage an A-flat major chord,
winding from the lowest
lows to their overtones—Chopin’s
notion of amorous disaster.Uncertainty
Pleased to see you—your hair is ravish-
ing and your fingers delic-
ious. It’s true I become mawkish
in your absence, dull and bored as a school of gray fish.
Reluctantly I furnish
my life with distractions, devour Miss-
ion burritos while watching the demolit-
ion of sidewalks by small, garish
At night I sh-Inertia: The Kiss
ower alone, polish
away lather from skin like the residue of a Danish
pastry, gaze with dismay at my stylish
fingers (their touch not yours)—I extinguish
the spray and crawl into the soft, lavish
cove of my bed, where mostly I lie* awake and wish
you were here, among other thoughts not fit to be publish-
in my dream* * * *
I cannot move
to meet you:
inertia: the kiss
there is no turn-
The girl is on a plane:
this is not unusual, but nearly always difficult.
Ah, the romance of being whisked away! Miles
into the air with the lilting desire of some bird
whose feathers ruffle with sudden height.
But the loss of gravity is distressing to her now.
She presses her nose into the ridiculous
airplane window. Her desire is vast
& carnal. The metal bird that contains her
dips low, teasing, grazes the island lengthwise:
the meaning of the Empire State Building
is not easily mistaken.