The Player Piano


I ate pancakes one night in a Pancake

Run by a lady my age.

She was gay.

When I told her that I came from

She laughed and said, "I lived in

When Fatty Arbuckle drove the El Molino bus."I felt that I had met someone from home.

No, not Pasadena,

Fatty Arbuckle.

Who's that?

Oh, something that we had in

Like — like — the false armistice.

Piano rolls.

She told me her house was the first Pancake

East of the Mississippi, and I showed herA picture of my grandson.

Going home —Home to the hotel — I began to hum,"Smile a while,

I bid you sad adieu,

When the clouds roll back I'll come to you."Let's brush our hair before we go to bed,

I say to the old friend who lives in my mirror.

I remember how I'd brush my mother's

Before she bobbed it.

How long has it

Since I hit my funnybone? had a scab on my knee?

Here are Mother and Father in a photograph,

Father's holding me….

They both look so young.

I'm so much older than they are.

Look at them,

Two babies with their baby.

I don't blame you,

You weren't old enough to know any better;

If I could I'd go back, sit down by you both,

And sign our true armistice: you weren't to blame.

I shut my eyes and there's our living room.

The piano's playing something by Chopin,

And Mother and Father and their little

Listen.

Look, the keys go down by themselves!

I go over, hold my hands out, play I play —If only, somehow,

I had learned to live!

The three of us sit watching, as my

Plays itself out a half-inch from my fingers.

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