HOROWITZ PLAYS CHOPIN
(Video, c. 1986)
She likes my tie
better than my playing
he says, embarrassing
escorts struck mute
by the magisterial aura
of greatness. It’s quite a bow-tie:
floppy, purple, white dots
upstaging his faintly amused
liverish face – a comic companion
to the cardigan he wears
against the Evil Eye.
Then he leans into a ballade.
The bland lidded glance becomes a
rapier, probing. Hands that seem small
span octaves, flat on the keys
in ways decades of teachers have
warned not to imitate. Cadenzas
spin out in paradox --
sonorous yet light, as though hammered
by feathers. A final flourish:
the swoop and filigreed rush
of ballet. He rises,
suddenly frail. She still likes
my tie better he smiles, picking
his way through practice chairs.
A dazzling arc --
sun through an opened door
perhaps; or Apollo passing --
bleaches the view.
Version first published in The Raven's Perch (Oct. 31, 2020)