Monday Poem

Victor Borge and the Player Piano

We lived on Oak Street when one day
my father came home with a white piano
big and heavy as a horse that had
two large pedals under its keyboard which
if you placed a paper roll titled Lady of Spain
between two spindles behind a sliding door
above the keys like a wood block in a lathe
and pumped with both feet the avatar
of Victor Borge would come to sit and play,
blacks and ivories (some like bad teeth)
succumbing to the ghosts of his hands
as you watched ascending and descending
perforations in the roll's paper
pass over a horizontal row of holes
in the smooth brass bar at eye level
likes flocks of geese coming and going
the pattern of perforations sliding from
top roll to bottom orchestrating the piano's
robot rendition of Lady of Spain
while Borge slap-sticked and cracked-wise
seated right where you sat,
your fingers floating over the keys
performing furious air arpeggios until you
walked your fingers off the high end
and dropped from seat to floor
pretending to be that funny man
with fingers as facile
in the adult manner of a
brilliant Danish clown

by Jim Culleny
Feb 22 2010

Victor Borge at the White House