Interior of a grand piano


My marriage was a master class in musical absolutes.
Syllabus: variations on a single theme.

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 unzipped and whipped it out
is highest praise for the writing of a concerto.
Or believing your 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 the mother’s drunken boyfriend who’d once pressed his gun
into a small child’s hands—cold steel to toughen up

what hours at a keyboard threatened
to make soft.

5. I understood at last too:

(ordered to my knees, bare backside)
(strop pulled like a whisper from its satin case)

In such man’s logic, any woman’s body could itself become


16 thoughts on “Percussion

      1. Sometimes, even now that I’m an Old Woman, I miss beating the sexist shit out of asshole stranger men who rubbed me the wrong way back in the day. They never expected to be punched so hard by a woman. My hands are tingling at the memory. It was dangerous and cathartic as fuck.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sounds dangerous and cathartic, for sure! I am almost jealous. I have been wishing lately I could go back, just into certain memories (#5 chief among them), and imagine them happening differently. Imagine myself NOT kneeling down for instance. Or NOT freezing.

          Another goal for my fairy tale project, perhaps. (The one referenced in my last post). If I can’t imagine ~myself~ punching back, maybe I can turn Little Red Riding Hood into a wolf…and let her eat somebody…


          Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes.

          And even if I don’t feel a great deal of empathy at this point (it all got used up over the years we were together), understanding where he was coming from made all the difference in putting that relationship behind me.


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