Old poem

Stop me if you’ve read this one before.

SKETCH FOR A STILL LIFE WITH SAXOPHONE

What a quaint notion–that life
could be anything but kinetic,
frenetic, in full
swing! But let’s have a galvanized steel
bucket of ice sent up & see
what happens. Something
to shine, to gleam.
And a wooden bowl of felt-
&-plastic fruit on
a low table. And for
the proper contrast, for corners
appropriately dark, Japan’s
the place: the traditional-style
half of a hotel suite, say,
in a seaside resort just
beginning to fall
on hard times. The once-full
register showing
alarming gaps, the heat
turned off in the hall . . .
but still not a speck of dust.
Simply an air of genteel poverty
essential to the timeless equipoise
of things in their rightful places
,
from the imitation paper windows
to the Zen-inspired alcove
with scroll & spray of blossoms
to the thrumming of some distant
power source–a drone
as melancholy as any chorus
of autumn crickets.
Let the uncorked chardonnay
take what it needs of oxygen & light.
Let nothing discompose
this most exotic
of guests: the saxophone
resting in the corner
like a golden carp. See
how at home it looks?
ready for the oddly missing shoe
to begin tapping.

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