top of page


(Video, c. 1986)

She likes my tie

better than my playing

he says, embarrassing

young 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)

bottom of page