i watched the great Arthur Rubinstein
touch the piano.
gently, he whispered into the
ear of each key.
then he attacked the entire keyboard
with extraordinary strength.
i wondered how he did it
where was the source of such energy?
he was no longer in body;
he was almost pure spirit.
but he was capable of smoking
effulgent, glowing cigars,
which filled the auditoriums
with forbidden aromas,
he ate caviar from faraway countries,
he sipped exquisite liqueurs
which vaporized into exotic clouds of mist.

for years i had been asking

to sit next to him as he played:
‘absolutely not!
it is my last private space,
my penultimate performance platform’
i slinked away and for a very long time
i looked and listened
from the wings of each theatre.
i was trying to find a common denominator
where i could hide and listen,
there was a space behind all the footlights.
one night in st. petersburg
i felt ready,
i gained super strength,
a surge of bravery filled my body.
i wore a special, dusty, dirty
one piece camouflage suit.
i wiggled behind the footlights
at
center
stage.
i was shaking with fear
as i crawled under the
sacred piano
like a dingey rag.
the reverberations felt like
all the enormous bells that hang
in the cathedral towers of europe.
my entire body started to vibrate
with the powerful instrument.
i was sliding
i grabbed on to a piano leg
just as i thought i was going to bounce away,
my body relaxed, my breath became even,
i started to pulse in the same rhythm
as the music
my entire being was disappearing and
i was playing with maestro
i didn’t have to sit on the bench
i was the bench, i was the piano
i was mister rubinstein
he never discovered my secret