Compost and Height Archive: Michael Tanner – The Piano

Michael Tanner

“The piano looks up to me as if I am an older brother. ‘why?’ I would ask. But the piano just gives me a baleful look, eager to please with a grin full of yellowing ivory. I hear him inhaling in the night time when I’m trying to sleep, inviting cat hair to dance a tune across his entrails and sew his proud hammers shut.
‘I’m muted’ he told me this morning over coffee. ‘my belly is wound up tight with dust-bunnies’ – meaning I (alice-like) would have to chase them down ornately carved holes, cheap red scissors in hand. Inside my brothers’ belly was like a gloomy porch. I wandered around and brushed the spiderweb of grey follicles which covered his wrought-iron ribs…web upon web, mesh upon mesh. Beneath my fingers I felt the grain of his timbers and pondered an appropriate cutting pattern. All the while he could be heard above me tapping impatiently in f #. ‘I have an awkward touch’ I reasoned ‘you know this’.
Eventually the scissors eased through his worries like snowflakes, my fingers brushing the taught strings as I went. “ahhhhh” – he sighed a deep serene hum from his widening diaphragm, as the net around his lungs popped apart. I reassured him as best I could before playing a long crude B-major – fingers held in position, we felt the vibration through both our chest bones and gradually deaden… Silently I closed his lid, turned the key and placed it back on the string round my neck.”

Michael Tanner – The Piano (contains the tracks, Bridegroom and Sing the Reverberate Hills)

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