These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

The Man Who Plays the Piano

Posted on March 22, 2013 by Naomi Bilmes

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From my blog:

Here is a set of two poems. They are written in different styles, but they are about the same subject. I am still working out exactly how to fit them together and how to make the images convey what I want them to convey. Any feedback would be helpful. Enjoy! (In keeping with my other poetry, these poems benefit from being read out loud. That person sitting next to you in the library will not care. Perhaps he or she will even enjoy the poem, too).

The Man Who Plays the Piano

0pI am going to fall in love
with a man who plays the piano.

My fingers can press on wooden frets,
arranging echoed chords in sets,
but I will have five hundred regrets
if he does not play the piano.

I can summon the air from my core,
I can belt it, store it, make it pour,
but its strength will double, triple – more!
when singing with a piano.

The bench will mold to his rhythmic thigh,
and the white fire will suddenly, deftly, fly
from the ivory keys, coaxing a sigh
from my chest to the heart of the piano.

He will pick the notes, I will choose the song,
he will tell me my voice makes me belong
with him: the man with fingers so strong—
the man who plays the piano.

He plays and he plays, and the voice of his hand
caresses my cheek; in an instant, I stand
before the pressed-shut eyes of the dazzling man
— the man with whom I have fallen in love —
the man who plays the piano.


And Still He Plays

I want to tell him
about running through the dark blue streets,
and the round stone turret
belonging to the house
that should be ours

0tAbout the two perfect tomatoes,
and the spicy cinnamon stick,
and the kiwi wedge
whose juice found its way through my teeth
and onto my tongue.

About the girl with the glinting ring in her nose,
and the sturdy words of a best friend,
and the freedom in my legs
that flew me through the the blue streets
(past the round stone turret)
and brought me back to him.

And as we are walking,
the words dance on my tongue
right next to the kiwi juice.
I want to tell him;
I want to turn his face to the shining blue streets

But he is only the man who plays the piano.
He will not see the streets;
he will not lay his strong fingers on the cool, round stone;
he will not taste the juice of the kiwi.

He is forever playing the piano;
forever playing for himself.