My Piano and Me

The door shuts behind them
when they go; the key clicks their good-bye.
I sigh, and then stroll
over to my piano.

The wooden legs scrape
my maple floor.
I ease along the leather seat
and open up the lid with the heels
of my hands.

Daddy bought my upright-
grand piano
(Mother always says he did)
when I was twelve years old.
Crafted by a Toronto company
of note
(pardon the pun),
she’s a Heintzman.

Anyway, today’s the day
we get to play,
just her and me.
She’s a “she”.
You see, we decided that
a long time ago.

She and I have our favourites:
Schubert, Chopin,
but Kermit’s song,
we love to play,
and Elton John,
can make our day too.

Together, we struggle;
I never practiced
much as a kid, and
she’s older now,
but I got her a tune-up
for Christmas.
(Well, Mother did).

Ludwig’s Sonata comes easily
we both enjoy the ebb and flow
of waves and keys;
I stretch short fingers,
and she seems to shrink to meet them—
as if she were a friend.

Don’t ask us to share
our rare time together
(we’re a bit selfish that way),
and we don’t have
much time before
the key
is in the lock
and I go back
to my day.

Long ago, it was decided by those
in the know that
I’m no virtuosa.

my piano
wasn’t paying attention.

Kathleen Mortensen @2016

Many thanks to oglach at Na Trioblóidí for challenging me to write this piece in response to a comment I made on his blog.  I cannot recommend his blog too highly; you really must see it for yourself.

If you enjoyed this poem, you might also like these:

A Composition

Piano Man








I bought for my mother,
A marmalade treat,
To have with her breakfast
On toast for to eat,
But next morning
She never got up from her bed;
From her pillow,
She did not raise up her tired head,
So she never again will taste
Thick-cut orange spread,
That she so used to love
On her golden-grilled bread,
But forever, the memory of her
Will not fade,
When I spread my toast with
Her orange marmalade.

Kathleen Mortensen @ 2016

Flung Guns

After the shoot-outs
at that rinky-dink casino
in sun-baked Bakersfield,
and that lil’ ol bank
in San Bernadino,
they were runnin’
for their lives.

Hopped up on adrenaline
they made a bee-line
for Tijuana.
Ted used some Jackie D in the glove-box
to kill the pain
where that slug plugged him
just above the knee.
He yelled, Pull ‘er over
right here!
They stood on the
bridge for a spell,
tasting their lives
on the tips of their tongues.
Then one of ’em
flung his gun in the Rio Grande,
and the other followed suit.

‘Course, they weren’t
as clever as they thought.
Sheriff on their tail,
and they never worried ’bout
ditchin’ the car—
didn’t get too far afore
they was ‘cuffed and clinked.

Can’t help but think
’bout all them other guns
must still be sunk in the drink

Kathleen Mortensen @2016

If you enjoyed this poem, here’s another you might like: BAD LOVE

*Just some wacky thoughts after watching one of my all-time favourite films, “Charley Varrick” with Walter Matthau. Hadn’t seen it in decades and I’d forgotten just what a great flick it is. (The above scenario is almost entirely out of my own head.)


We never met,
But there were stories
He was a bastard
In more ways than one.
He put at least
A dozen buns in Granny’s oven
And drank himself into
A fairly early grave
With money
She tried in vain
To save.
He was deeper
Than he appeared,
At least, my dad said so,
But he could lash out,
And he passed on
That trait, I’ll tell you.
He may have been
A philanderer.
If he’d never
Fathered my father,
I’d not be here
To slander him.

Kathleen Mortensen @2016

Like this piece? Here’s a sweeter take on my Irish heritage. HUM

And thisSPUDS