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10/26/12 06:15 pm

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4/30/09 03:51 pm - Dug up draft

“Where are we going, Papa?” I had asked. He ferried me down the street, master and dog, even though I was not so young around that time. I danced about, pulling on the hand he leashed me with when something attracted my attention-- the smell of elephant‘s feet from the bakery, a particularly majestic looking tree amongst the vineyard on the Rue Saint-Vincent, other dogs to sniff at. I think that is how he saw me a lot of the time, an agitated puppy, tongue lolling and tail wagging, leaving mucky fingerprints on the laminate of the piano’s wrest plate.

“We’re going to see Edward,” he replied, a flicker of nerves in his eyes, “you remember?”

I did. Edward was a dour American who always scowled. He intimidated me. Throughout the years he’d spent in Paris my father had visited him frequently. There were times when he would spend more time out of the house than in, paying calls to the various artistes of the area that he’d attached himself to. With them he would exchange shrewd and scornful discourse, appraising or condemning the other men around them and the men they were inspired by. Edward was a particular favourite of my father, not so much for his demeanour but for his notoriety, and it was with him that he vied for attention.

“Joachim!” he’d announced dramatically. He escorted us in and I was promptly patted on the head rather than heralded by name, and ushered into the sitting room. Papa and his friend then retired to the study to converse in private.

His flat was nothing like our own. It was sparse and functional. His had chairs to sit on, and desks and tables to write at and his possessions were kept neatly on shelves or in cupboards. We had no chairs, we sat on cushions and all of our cupboards lay permanently open, with sheets of scrawled-on paper and ruddy bronze trinkets stuffed hastily inside.

What attracted me most was the baby grand that sat took up the corner by the window out into the street. Before my interest in pianos I had once tried to scale it so that I could look out onto the apartments across the street and listen to the clack of heel on cobble, but was beaten for it. It takes maybe weeks to forget that as a child?

Its paintwork, the piano not the window frame, was immaculate- no sign of woodwork like our own, it didn't splinter to the touch and there were no books and sheets piled on top of it. When it was obvious Papa wouldn’t return in minutes, I finished spying off the pink oblong that was myself reflected in its gloss, and planted my bottom on the stool. (a stool, what a novelty!) Placing my tiny fingers on the bleach-bone keys, I gently tapped at them. The tone was warm with age and it reverberated richly throughout the room, but when I tried the chords I knew and could reach across the span of my hand, the notes jarred.

I tried to play to no avail until my father reappeared, a sour and defeated expression on his face. We didn’t say goodbye to Edward, we just left, and once again Papa had to drag me down the street. This time he was much less patient and held me by the wrist and not the hand.

“I couldn’t play Edward’s piano, Papa. All the keys are in the wrong place,” I had said. He replied that that it because his was in tune.

We didn’t go to Edward’s again.
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3/26/09 04:14 pm - drafty draft

“Where are we going, Papa?” I had asked. He ferried me down the street, master and dog, even though I was not so young around that time. I danced about, pulling on the hand he leashed me with when something attracted my attention-- the smell of elephant‘s feet from the bakery, a particularly majestic looking tree amongst the vineyard on the Rue Saint-Vincent, other dogs to sniff at. I think that is how he saw me a lot of the time, an agitated puppy, tongue lolling and tail wagging, leaving mucky fingerprints on the laminate of the piano’s wrest plate.

“We’re going to see Edward,” he replied, a flicker of nerves in his eyes, “you remember?”

I did. Edward was a dour American who always scowled. He intimidated me. Throughout the years he’d spent in Paris my father had visited him frequently. There were times when he would spend more time out of the house than in, paying calls to the various artistes of the area that he’d attached himself to. With them he would exchange shrewd and scornful discourse, appraising or condemning the other men around them and the men they were inspired by. Edward was a particular favourite of my father, not so much for his demeanour but for his notoriety, and it was with him that he vied for attention.

“Joachim!” he’d announced dramatically. He escorted us in and I was promptly patted on the head rather than heralded by name, and ushered into the sitting room. Papa and his friend then retired to the study to converse in private.

His flat was nothing like our own. It was sparse and functional. His had chairs to sit on, and desks and tables to write at and his possessions were kept neatly on shelves or in cupboards. We had no chairs, we sat on cushions and all of our cupboards lay permanently open, with sheets of scrawled-on paper and ruddy bronze trinkets stuffed hastily inside.

What attracted me most was the baby grand that sat took up the corner by the window out into the street. Before my interest in pianos I had once tried to scale it so that I could look out onto the apartments across the street and listen to the clack of heel on cobble, but was beaten for it. It takes maybe weeks to forget that as a child?

Its paintwork, the piano not the window frame, was immaculate- no sign of woodwork like our own, it didn't splinter to the touch and there were no books and sheets piled on top of it. When it was obvious Papa wouldn’t return in minutes, I finished spying off the pink oblong that was myself reflected in its gloss, and planted my bottom on the stool. (a stool, what a novelty!) Placing my tiny fingers on the bleach-bone keys, I gently tapped at them. The tone was warm with age and it reverberated richly throughout the room, but when I tried the chords I knew and could reach across the span of my hand, the notes jarred.

I tried to play to no avail until my father reappeared, a sour and defeated expression on his face. We didn’t say goodbye to Edward, we just left, and once again Papa had to drag me down the street. This time he was much less patient and held me by the wrist and not the hand.

“I couldn’t play Edward’s piano, Papa. All the keys are in the wrong place,” I had said. He replied that that it because his was in tune.

We didn’t go to Edward’s again.
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5/9/08 09:03 am - Two Little Boys and Only One Toy

There is a boy with
A ball, the other looks for
Bugs amongst the grass.

The pimple red ball
Wheezes with each bounce, again
It hits, bounce, bounce, bounce.

The other boy pounces,
Tweezing with tongs amongst the
Silt undergrowth. He

Captures his trophy-
Ceramic and black, crackling
As plates rub harshly

Against its belly.
The boy squints at his prize, then,
Bored, he crushes it.
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5/8/08 05:52 am - I

I

Tabs and salty lines, baggies of mulch.
Muriel oscillates on her invisible swing
And Gordon gets some sick enjoyment from it
He watches the rocking, back and forth.

Back and forth Humphrey moves
From table to bar, he’s not touching the hard stuff.
Instead he sticks to the drink, more into
Chasing skirt, leering and puking and hitting.

Hitting on Ethel is not so easy.
We sit and chat loose jawed, but it’s hard to
Concentrate when she’s quoting
Adam Ant as she peers at the stage.

Staging a riot, Winston jumps the band
Before been thrown, wax-faced into the
Thronging morass below. He is sucked
Into the void by palms, sweaty and groping.

Groping in the darkness Frank finds
A chair and takes a seat. Marvin the Martian
Had left him to boogie with the stick men.
We exclaim at how alike we are!

We aren't. Eventually I go to score more ether
As I’m flagging. I shuffle under the lights with
Ethel- two awkward, strobing flamingos.
Listless, we search for Frank.

Frank crumples into a ball of paper
But Muriel reckons we should forget about it,
We should shut up, try the sandpit or the
Slide. Clearly she wants us to leave.

Leaving we flee this felt dungeon, its
Wrought and screaming gates open
A new world to us- one darkened and
Peopled by Zombies. No, no

No, Ethel baulks at the sight.
We hitch a ride, a rocking, nauseating
Affair. Together we are alone,
separated by the sounds of JCBs clashing.


-

First or second?
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