Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Writer Impossible: Modulation and Tone

You, The Piano Man
For Glenn on his 120th Birthday

The flies of stress buzz around my head
as I cross out a transition in prose.
It should start on a low note,
trill higher, gain momentum,
and swoop to a singular, brilliant ping.

But alas, I am stuck --and I have flies.
You, the piano man have always had notes,
words, and music on the brain.
So I phone: 011 61 2 a line to Darlinghurst
where you live amid pianos, music and poetry.

You, the piano man, put down coil setters and gauges.
I only hear silence, and the
flies round my head are getting louder.
“Tempo change,” you finally say.
“That’s it?” I ask.

You, the piano man, catch my L.A. sigh.
A gasp that whisks across the ocean.
“Pace?” I ask.
“Mod-ul-ation,” you say. “Got it luv?”
“No sweat, pet. I've got it,” I say.

A key change --imagine biting a peach
and instead of it squirting, summer’s unleashed,
with John Phillip Sousa and gingham dresses.
Or a dog that plays a sad cello
'cause the cat's run off with the moon.

The flies of stress die away. I'm no longer stuck.