All I See Is Motion

All along, he was memorizing Handel

The way he taught himself to worship

Fullness, Alberti bass...

That perfect

Wrong chord with one too many g sharps.

The way I breathed through his wax paper lungs

And tanning baby skin

When all sorts of chemical molasses

Was prying open my window, playing

At airborne thievery to snatch away

A pianist's only fiction.


Ink always stretched for him, satisfied with drying;

Complacent in acting substitute

Nurse for a night or two.

He would gaze with chronic wonder

At wobbly bar lines, sloppy dotted eighths:

Our childhood disease never left off her tyranny

On the lichen-soft rug

Of his curly European hair.


What am I supposed to capture, then,

That could possibly be so secret,

So capricious,

As the way he plays with scherzo?


I guard - overmuch - his elbows

So fond of suspended animation and hard

Countertop surfaces.

You're too much a dancer for Clementi, I'll mutter, knowing

All the while he could make Schumann

Disapprove of me,

Punish me and my fake pluviophile poetics; never

Give a father's blessing

To that sort of accusatory motion-picture composer

Who should've been a violinist.


But he'll cry, just for comfort, as he pounds out

Another diminished seventh,

And keep his toddler wishes spiraling and winging

Their hawkish way up to the gilded yellowing moon;

I will be everything but pleased

With scribbling only the wooliest words

To settle cloaklike

Over his stooped, shaking shoulders.

This poem is about: 
My family
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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