Poetry Fiction Issue

Squeezebox

More

Hear the author read this poem

You stretched its bellows to the limit without ripping
the fabric. So what if you weren’t the guy on TV
who touched off tremolos by twitching his instrument
in time with Ed Sullivan’s handclaps.
You pumped yours like a concertina, tight
in your shoulder straps, pounding the keyboard.

You took lessons from Mr. Merino, who called
your accordion an “ax.” He taught you jazz
syncopations, scales you muffed, & once,
while he stood behind you fingering your ribs,
the rhythm of a man in love with boys.

So what if you weren’t the crush he imagined,
performing in pigeon piazzas
where tourists noshed on prosciutto.
Flawless from his tap shoes to his toupee,
as he played “Sorrento” & “Lady of Spain,”
he pressed black buttons, forming long-lost chords.

James Reiss’s latest book is Riff on Six: New and Selected Poems (2003). He teaches at Miami University in Ohio.
Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In