Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Taylor Mali

Between the snowstorms and the steady approach of the winter break, I've been thinking of lines from this poem by my Most Favorite Living Poet Ever. And, since I've also been thinking of you all quite a bit lately, I decided to share:

Undivided attention
By Taylor Mali

A grand piano wrapped in quilted pads by movers,
tied up with canvas straps - like classical music's
birthday gift to the insane -
is gently nudged without its legs
out an eighth-floor window on 62nd street.

It dangles in April air from the neck of the movers' crane,
Chopin-shiny black lacquer squares
and dirty white crisscross patterns hanging like the second-to-last
note of a concerto played on the edge of the seat,
the edge of tears, the edge of eight stories up going over, and
I'm trying to teach math in the building across the street.

Who can teach when there are such lessons to be learned?
All the greatest common factors are delivered by
long-necked cranes and flatbed trucks
or come through everything, even air.
Like snow.

See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year
my students rush to the window
as if snow were more interesting than math,
which, of course, it is.

So please.

Let me teach like a Steinway,
spinning slowly in April air,
so almost-falling, so hinderingly
dangling from the neck of the movers' crane.
So on the edge of losing everything.

Let me teach like the first snow, falling.


At 1:52 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Taylor Mali was at KIPP Summit this summer. He read/recited some of his poems. A super cool guy, he has a lot of his work on CD (it's more fun when he reads it aloud!).


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