7/24/2006

The Song I'm Writing

There’s this piano tune I’ve had in my head the past two years. It doesn’t have a name yet, but I’ve been playing it in five-minute bursts since before this blog was born. It’s all arpeggios, staccatos and blues notes; Fmajor, very simple chord structure. Lots of B-flats, major-sevenths - I wish I had a composer’s vocabulary to describe the sound. I'm a pretty lousy pianist, but mostly self-taught. I go to the YMCA every few days and sit for a few minutes and I ‘compose’ before getting up to do my workout. The piano there is all I have access to downtown in the summer. It sits at the bottom of a stairwell and every couple minutes some musclehead walks by from the main gym to the conditioning room and probably wonders what I’m doing making fairy-piano-music when this is a place for sweating etc and why don't I get an iPod…. To be interrupted doesn’t bother me though; the acoustics are great in that stairwell and mostly I get to be alone, though I admit it’s nice when someone notices and appreciates the recital. Anyway the tune itself is happy, flirtatious, yet shy. I don’t know enough jazz to say it’s all that original, but it feels genuine. It’s filled with mistakes (my pitch is bad; I play by trial-and-error) and I play it different every time, but always it comes back to the same theme. The left-hand does a simple alternating descent by semitones across octaves usually starting from B-flat and the right-hand does variations on a cyclical four-fingered flick across F, sometimes C. It only takes hold of me when I’m physically in front of a piano, but when I’m playing it it’s like the piano was only built for this one song. It’s like wind chimes or a conversation between birds, and I can't stop working on it. It’s half-jazz, half-blues, and in five or ten years I think I’ll have enough for a movie score. So if ever you’re passing by my stairwell in the West End Y - I’m in grey sweat pants and a blue t-shirt, standing at the weathered brown Yahama. Look out, John Williams.

3 comments:

Aim said...

You know I love all your writing, but this you being you talking about you... was lovely.

Bobby said...

Well said, aim.

Yes indeed.

Changes of voice in your writing definitely shake loose some stuff that might not come out in the regular voice. It stirs things up. It's a different writing tool . . . or somethin . . . listen to me talkin like I know somethin . . . ha ha

Either of you ever read a book called Another Bullshit Night in Suck City? It's by a guy who is a poet, but it's a memoir. It is my new favorite book. Read it! Now! Ha ha.

I think people who write a lot of poems are people who can write the absolute best essays in the world.

Cupcake Man said...

thanks, beauties. i love that title bobby. Sucks and the City. i miss you aim - come back soon