The Sadly Futile Pretence 1993

                  The Sadly Futile Pretence

“This is the last song that you’ll ever hear me play,” he roared.

He sat down at his organ, striking one great chord.

“…the last song that I’ll ever play in this damned pub!”

And he walked up to the organ while the boss looked bored.

He played a song he’d often played, but with a great emotion.

He played his heart out, as they say. He played with great devotion

To the theme, and as he finished with a grand dramatic pause,

He took his beer, he wiped a tear and looked for some applause.

But folk continued talking; clinking glass was all you heard.

For the saddest cut of all was that, in fact, nobody cared.

“They’ll see they cannot do without me. They’ll be sorry yet…!”

He was thinking this with every pounded note he played that set.


Just a drunken little fellow who showed up each night at six,

And who stayed till two each morning showing off his tattered tricks.

Who’d begun to think he owned the club – played host and bossed around

Other players who showed up to play. He had to share the stand.

And if someone had a birthday or a graduation day,

Or if someone wanted Strauss, or asked to sing, then he would play.

Good old Charlie-at-the-ready, with unsteady hand could

Play light opera or a folk song. In his genre good.

Not professional, but in his amateurish way he played quite well,

Playing harmonies – not incorrect – just, what shall we say, – stale.

Dearest Charlie, dear loud Charlie, he could turn a tune.

And he sometimes changed the light bulbs in his home in the saloon.


I’d have sworn he’d gone forever, if you’d asked me on that night.

But on showing up myself next week, he’d far from taken flight.

Walking round the club as always, telling all who gave an ear,

How he’d fixed the mike, had cleaned the keys, wouldn’t say no to beer:

“A strong one, please!”

©The Sadly Futile Pretence 93.7.5

Vaguely About Music; Special People Special Occasions;Small Stories Book;

Arlene Corwin






Birthday Kent 1993

          Birthday Kent
A corny line – but if you knew

How it has been to live with you

You’d know I celebrate

This February date with joy,

The day Linnea had a boy.

Full of life and drive,

Who’s reached the figures five five,

Calm, dear Kent,

Dear heart so true,

Just think, you play piano too!



Birthday Kent 93.2.8Love Relationships; Special People Special Occasions;(K) Birthday Book;

Arlene Corwin


Day After 2009

                   Day After

One day

After New Year’s Eve;

Nine years

Post millennium:

Continuation ordinaire,

Nothing changed but numbers.

What makes dates so great?

Why the fireworks

To signalize , nay, celebrate

A time that’s anyway here/gone?

I am a yin/yang person

Thinking all the time –

What’s there to make a fuss

About when it’s a fiction?

© Day After 1.2.2009

A Sense Of The Ridiculous; Circling Round Reality;

Circling Round Vanities; Birth, Death & In Between;


Arlene Corwin


What You Were Born To Do 2007

               What You Were You Born To Do

What were you born to do?

Play like Art Tatum?

Paint like Rothke?

Carpent? Garden?

Be a twin to God-in-you?

Sixty-nine; these are the questions of the year.

Birthday once or everyday;

The days sincere, a birth to cheer.

You sense the thing that’s left to do.

You know the answers

Inside you.

One formal day to celebrate;

Day for everyone around to thank you –

Thank you for existing. But the rest –

Three hundred sixty-four –

Are days you do not calibrate.

This last year of a decade, leaving six behind:

Have you got the things you prayed for?

Have the sixty’s helped you find

The life you’re made for?

Sixty-nine: a leaving and a looking forward.

One more chance to start the new –

Do things you’re born to do.

Stay strong, and

Happy birthday all year long!

©What You Were Born To Do7.2.5

Birth, Death & In Between; Special People Special Occasions; Birthday Book;

Arlene Corwin

Mother In-Law 2007

             Mother In-law

Has it been twenty-four

Daughter in-law years?

She was plump then –

Face a rosy, Swedish skin.

Always prone to valleyed hills,

One of the first to lean on pills,

She raised her four.

The best of mothers:

Giving and uncritical.


One holds back tears

As time/space feeling disappears –

When time and home and neighborhood,

Recounting conversations, mood

Was always of the essence.

Twenty-four short years before

Her plumpness ran across the streets, up stairs,

Saw nature’s beauty everywhere,

Bleached, washed and cleaned each corner…

One is left a mourner,

Mourning, like Siddhartha

For the rounds of life.

©Mother In-law 07.4.10

Love Relationships; Special People Special Occasions;

Birth, Death & In Between; Mother Book;

Arlene Corwin

He Needs A New Style 2007 1999

        He Needs A New Style

He needs a new style,

New content, maybe. He,

He ought to stop awhile

Until his tutelary genie shows.

He’s stale, he’s pale.

He needs a new scent up his nose;

A muse who loves him.

©He Needs A New Style 07.10.25. (idea 99.6.18)

The Processes: Creative. Thinking, Meditative; Vaguely About Music;

Special People, Special Occasions;

Arlene Corwin

Special People 2008


       Special People

I talk to him about himself;

He ‘yes-es’ with, “I get it, yes” –

He yes’s me to death

Preferring really, stories stored.

It challenges inventiveness

To get him to mature.

Famous once upon a prime,

Drinking all that time

And smoking.

Now… a shut-in,

He leaves bow untouched,

The bass against a wall;

He’s got his memories and fantasies

And loosened teeth, some royalties,

Stomach problems.

Looking out the window

Of his ground floor flat.

Is ‘where he’s at’.

I carry on our te

tes a têtesTo see what, when and if…

© Special People 8.25.2008

Small Stories Book; Special People, Special Occasions; Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin






Excuse Me, I’m A So-Called Jazz Pianist



Excuse Me, I’m A So-Called Jazz Pianist



Backstage at a Lerum concert.

Queue is long –

Ten, twenty strong;

All longing for a word,

A signed record;

This little man

With hands of gold –

Maybe thirty-one years old

Sits smoking,

Chatting, greeting, joking:

Just plain nice.

The press is there; the fans are there;

Musicians to a man are there

Craning necks,

Straining to see

This king of musicality,

Like idolizing suitors.

By the time he heads the queue

He’s shy –

But not a tick goes by

When he croaks “Thank you,”

Though a hollow,

Shallow, marshey-mallow

Phrase comes out.

This clever, skillful, practiced player –

Sharp, fine-fingered Tatum sayer

Stammers as he almost bows

(One could say cows)

-Excuse me, I’m a so-called jazz pianist.”

As if living was his lie.

©Excuse me, I’m A So-Called Jazz Pianist 01.10.18

Vaguely About Music; Special People Special Occasions;(Michel Petrucciani concert)

Arlene Corwin

*pronounced kvell: it means evening in Swedish. 





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