Today. I am an upright piano. Sitting on the wood floor of an old New York city apartment building. An iron warehouse-like building of lofts and dust and quiet. Empty and waiting with a piano inside. And a man with youth and a beard and hands wider than an octave sits upon it writing a poem about a woman far away as the moon with a heart in his chest sitting like a fist of bees trying to be petals in the water. No one watches him but the daylight and the sky, both peeking through the tall windows. At his feet are stacks of her sheet music. He misses her. She pulls at the East Atlantic. Writes the ocean with her body. Waxing and waning the phases of her embraces. A library where nothing is allowed to be checked out. Nothing is allowed to be pulled from the shelves. When inside her, walking the rows she has organized, he touches the spines of books as he passes them, trying to read them with the tips of his fingers. Her rafters are tense without her realizing this. The birds sneak in and quietly sit above, watching him. The books are filled with whispers and smiles when alone. He sits on the floor waiting for the moon to rise outside, hoping to see himself in these reflections of her. All this he writes down, outside of her, sitting on his piano, wishing he had the knowledge to pull its garden of music into the air. But all he has are the hands for it and a song that sits on the soft grass that grows inside her, just on the other side of her stones, as he listens trying to find the words to put this music down with.
steward over many men, and he
in his turn fathered gallant Obaid
whose sons were twins, Bilal and Wasim
skillful at every kind of clever doing.
in manhood they embarked on the low valley of Neelam
for the wild shrublands of Ephedra to gain
the hunt, and to wait in the wind lands
and have air. Here Death hid them both.
Modified lines from Fitzgerald’s Iliad (V 625-633)
From Little, Big by John Crowley
James Joyce — from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (via slothnorentropy)