They were not optional in our family,
once a week, half an hour, that and
at least 20 minutes daily, the youngest
got the choice of times.
He quit after a year, his sister
was three years in and went on another
and I was eight years staring
at the 88 keys, so many of which
would never get used, useless
as were the pedals I couldn’t reach
at first and rarely needed later.
It was upright, as I was supposed
to be, but only was in sight
of my teacher, and I thought
Bill Evans had it right, leaning
over the keys insuring that they
wouldn’t make an escape.
I stopped when my parents realized
how much they had spent
on what they would never enjoy
and I would as soon forget.
It is far too early to think about that,
although many would say
it is already far too late.
That is the conundrum
in which we find ourselves,
defining our options, drawing
political lines that are
not dare crossed unless you
accept there can be no return.
And those who say it’s
too early, it can wait, must hope
that they can emulate
the Phoenix when they
have turned this world to ash.
Words have geographic homes
and here old favorites seem
ill at ease, fitting poorly into thoughts
that demand their presence.
I use them regardless, but we both
know that they will hide their shadings,
but in a world where words
are the last option, we both know
that I have no alternative
but to turn to them, to wheedle,
to cajole, and ultimately to submit
to whatever they will allow me.
After all, the alternative
his silence, and for a writer,
that is death by a single cut.
Sooner or later
the moment arrives
when there is no option
left and you
have to decide.
There are never
facts enough, or time –
uncertainty is a most
In this moment
indecision is not
an allowed outcome
and every selection is
at once right and wrong.