Living-Room Piano

“The soul is the weariest part of the body”-Paul Bowles
A distant episode/A childhood full of song
Encapsulated in the readings of Poe & Hawthorne
Visits to Carnegie Hall/At age fifteen.
Stravinsky’s Firebird/ Struck your teenage-heart
The way lightning strikes the treetops
sending fire-down the mountain

A ritual of improve born/ In Jamaica Queens
Upon that Livingroom piano

A new episode/ A new exciting mode
of teen-adolescent expression, teetering
of the edge of utter madness

But, the expression developed/As did lunacy
Reinforced by expats and literary circles
Decades adrift composing music in repetition/reputation
Growing like a Chinese Peach Blossom
In a Spring Beyond the world/In translation

You’d written/As long as you’d composed
In contrast for the madness hidden in the light
Of Musical Numbers, and Livingroom Pianos
Dwelled amid an underbelly of dark fiction

A delicate prey/A hypnotic and unaware gathering of specters
Rhythmic and skilled in decadence
The drugs, the boys, the unresolved fame
Made you pack it away/Under the Sheltering Sky
For Morocco/Amid whitewashed hillsides

A nexus of culture
and a lawless underground The underground escaped you/Paul
When you/Yourself become an Amusement Park
Visits from the Beats/The Rolling Stones/& Orwell’s
Atlantic Reviews
And the Times delivered daily

To be read over tea & kif

A new balcony/A new sky
But the circles closed in nonetheless
The readings of Poe & Hawthorne
clouded in memories garden

Visits to Carnegie Hall/At age fifteen
Stravinsky’s Firebird douched in water
Playing Dead inflame

And no lightning sending fire-down the mountain
Under the sheltering sky


Christopher Ricker was born in Brooklyn, raised on Staten Island, and educated in the state of Vermont. He holds a B.S. Degree in Outdoor Education. His previously published works include: “Iron City: A Collection of Staten Island Poems,” “Lunch At NoonMark: A collection of Short stories,” among others. His surrealist play titled” Cartoon in the Mirror,” is preformed annually at the Twisted Theater Showcase & Freak Show in New York City. “Living-Room Piano is a poem inspired by the writer and composer Paul Bowls and all his oddball madness!”

Alex Duensing. Graduate of William Paterson and Columbia? Yes. Ran for St. Petersburg, FL City Council? Yes. Won? No. Stopped Mayan Apocalypse on rooftop with performance art? Yup. Strange but nice fellow? Clearly. Protégé of Arakawa+Gins, masters of the architectural body? Ongoing even after the supposed end. Able to create mechanical engines that run completely on the energy a person creates while appreciating a painting? On delightful rare occasions.