Steven Mayoff

Let Us Improvise Motifs

I

Let us improvise motifs
on neck and shoulder,
in the small of the back
and behind the knee

running blind fingers
over an accordion’s buttons,
coaxing a garlicky wheeze
from cracked leather

a thin current
filling the spaces (minute
pockets of eternity).

II

The real music exists
between the notes,
a serpentine shimmer

disturbs
the air.

The clarinet’s reed stiffens
to life
between saintly lips
and confesses all secret
misgivings
through a high black bell.

Let us practice etudes
on cuticles of keys
and soft pedals,
tongues strumming
inner strings.

III

The bow glides
across tightly-wound
tendons, a loving scrape on
an open nerve.

Let us dance beneath
a score of crows
… ecstasy
across sky and wire

we two
scarecrows, a voicing
of dry grass: hesitation
and desire, pushing
the 360-degree periphery

wind-loosened borders
disturbing

our air.

(Originally appeared in Aquapolis, June 2007)

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