So I stroked the chest of my poor South American exile, who longs for warmth, and thought of Schnackenberg's “Kremlin of Smoke,” about Chopin in exile in Paris, Warsaw falling to the Russians, and Chopin, having no more sense than any other musician, but having the extraordinary sense to simply follow the notes. That's all the sense we need. The only discipline we need. As if that weren't to say: all you have to do is the hardest thing in the world.
And then today, Luisa's poem about the ghost of Chopin rising from a Japanese bed:
However his name is said, its syllablesSunday at Tom's. Coffee. Over there, a glossy girl of Japanese descent is sitting with a Caucasian couple – kindly, dowdy, gray, and stout. She is sparkling and making jokes, and wagging her index finger at both of them: they are rolling their eyes, but glowing with her warmth. They heave themselves at length out of the booth, and she lifts, hummingbird-like, without effort, to accompany them. Sage is right about how all these things converge to a message:
linger a little: sostenuto, the way water-
drops slide down the glass panes, the way
each prismed surface looks sheathed in another
skin; the way each bud in the garden might be
a heart embalmed, floating in a globe of fluid.
When I nearly knocked myself out in the garage as my brother and I were digging around in the bikes, I found myself on the floor with a pile of toddler toys on top of me. Was this The Universe playing a knock-knock joke where the punch line was my lack of playfulness? I don’t know; but it’s fun to guess.