WORDS AND MUSIC BY THE POET

WORDS AND MUSIC BY THE POET

These words are taking me away from my piano
All art requires dedication, but music, a special dedication
Art gives grace to the human who decides to dedicate
A life, or even part of a life, to art
When I’m done with these words, I’ll be at the piano
Finding my way around the key of E
Alone, just me and the piano keys
When you make music, mind flows into body, maybe like dance,
Music involves you with inflexible laws of physics
Which become laws of the musician’s heart and soul and muscle memory
I write these words in a dive with Alternative Rock in the background
I glance at the waitress, the bartender, customers
As I manifest this poem into these words
And I am not alone—just me and these words
Hemingway wrote in La Closerie des Lilas for the same reason
None of this can happen when I am in the key of E
It is only the articulation of my fingers on certain select piano keys
No music can be in the background; the only music that is
I make
Writing poetry is closer to waking life than playing music is
We are immersed in words much of the day
Not so, the specific piano keys you must depress—and no others—in E
You must wrench yourself away from everything
When you come to the piano
That is why it is sometimes hard to practice
You don’t want to leave everything
Unless music is everything to you
And it is when you are playing
A spell overtakes you and the ecstasy
Makes you wonder later why you weren’t at the piano sooner

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