My marriage was a master class in musical absolutes.
With lessons like:
1. Every true composer must first be a pianist.
The piano is a percussive instrument
same as a drum, he told me,
manly as any silverback thumping his chest.
2. Only symphony or opera, only what the plebescite deems “classical”
merits the name of music.
Listen to this pop tune:
(sneering at the repetitive bass thumping of techno or house,
the snare solo interrupting the rock ballad)
Can you imagine any sound more emasculated?
3. Composing is not an art form for pussies.
Not when You unzipped and whipped it out
was highest praise for writing a concerto.
And to believe his own vision mangled in performance
by flesh-and-blood musicians?
An erection attacked by a thousand paper cuts.
4. I understood:
To make macho sport of penning duets for Cello and Tenor
was a blow struck at childhood bullies
at jocks who called out “fag boy”
at a mother’s drunken boyfriend who’d pressed a gun into small hands
at a firing range—cold steel to toughen up
what hours at a keyboard threatened
to make soft.
5. I understood at last too:
(once ordered to my knees, bare back turned)
(hearing the strop pull softly from its satin case)
In such man’s logic, any woman’s body could itself become