Middle aged, he sits in a small room remembering

the Medici’s and their magnificent schemes, hears artisans tapping colossal stone, knows mankind needs sewers now

and someone has to stop

the shrinking of the world

He swelters in a corner apartment reeking of neighbors over an avenue of tuberculous cars, knowing

there’s a wise man somewhere on a cabin porch

overlooking a stream

and a coloratura on every pine, slides to the floor of his crowded room, crawling under three pillars of an heirloom piano

and praises the solid finish of its woods, knowing its dome

conceals hammers and strings

and the nocturnes of immortal minds

In that small room under a baby grand that’s built to last, he mourns

the loss of majesty and the death of kings,

knowing there are little girls in doorways

and legless men on cardboard

begging a daily pence


He climbs from under the baby grand to a kitchen chair,

imagines himself, one who could never play anything,

playing a frenzied Mozart, a startled Brubeck,

in the chaos of a civilization pounding worn keys

on a piano out of tune on a dull linoleum square