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Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 1999-11-03
Posts 3885
Oklahoma, USA

0 posted 2000-06-21 03:20 PM

            The Piano Player

He sits there at the keyboard -- looks too old,
A glass of whiskey never far from hand,
His fingers stiff, unsteady, he's been told
"Can't play so well for that, you understand."
But every key he strikes cries out "How wrong";
He's paid his dues, in blood and sweat and tears
And earned more gift than most to play the song
Of life and love . . . he's done it all these years.
So now he works this noisy, smoke-filled room;
Performs to entertain the rowdy crowd
Of drunks and whores who reek of cheap perfume;
He plays requests for tips, and plays too loud.
He smokes and plays and drinks and dreams of fame
But knows his lot forever stays the same.


What terms shall I find sufficiently simple in their sublimity --
sufficiently sublime in their simplicity --
for the mere enunciation of my theme?
Edgar Allan Poe

© Copyright 2000 Pete Rawlings - All Rights Reserved
Poet deVine
Member Seraphic
since 1999-05-26
Posts 22612
Hurricane Alley
1 posted 2000-06-21 03:28 PM the image of this one!!! I coughed, thinking I could smell the cigarette smoke!  
Member Empyrean
since 1999-06-05
Posts 25505
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
2 posted 2000-06-21 05:48 PM

Absolutely excellent. A myriad of emotions run through this poem so vividly I can see the old guy sitting there with his drink close by, blurry visions of yesterday floating through his mind and the realization that, for him, it's as good as it's gonna get.....Billy Joel material for sure  

Impotence is Nature's way of saying "no hard feelings".

Senior Member
since 2000-04-11
Posts 537
Tallahassee, Florida
3 posted 2000-06-21 06:22 PM

wow you really take me on a journey of music for me here.  i hear billy joel, i hear blood,sweat and tears, i hear the sounds i grew up with.  this is exquisite..... your nick, if i may say, needs to be updated to at least no not!!!  


A woman to a man is
But a mere chapter,
But a man to a woman
Is an entire book.--
Kynder Howell

Novacaine For The Soul
since 2000-05-26
Posts 122
New Orleans
4 posted 2000-06-21 07:33 PM

dear not a poet,
     *applauds loudly* this is stirring and wonderfully well written... this should definately be in the upcoming book... you write so vividly that i feel as though i not only can SEE the piano player, but as though i KNOW him... keep up the wonderful work...

a sad tomato

you're such a beautiful freak... i wish there were more just like you...

Senior Member
since 1999-06-05
Posts 596
Callington, Cornwall, England
5 posted 2000-06-22 07:11 AM

Very vivid imagery! The old guy keeps on playing, you make sure you keep on writing cuz I like this  


"We are the music makers and we are the makers of dreams." - Willy Wonka.

Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 1999-11-03
Posts 3885
Oklahoma, USA
6 posted 2000-06-22 10:25 AM

"...And when I die, and when I'm gone
There'll be one child born
In our world to carry on, to carry on."

Seriously, thank you all for your kind complements. I'm glad you enjoyed as I certainly enjoyed writing it.


Rex Allen McCoy
Member Elite
since 2000-01-30
Posts 2863
Sippin a Timmy's in London
7 posted 2000-06-22 10:39 AM

I prefer the ones that tell a story ...
very nice

Senior Member
since 1999-12-18
Posts 1563

8 posted 2000-06-23 11:47 PM

Ya know what, Pete? I like this one better now, too. You write sonnets very, very well.


the poet's to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name ~ Shakespeare

X Angel
Senior Member
since 1999-11-07
Posts 1521
9 posted 2000-06-29 01:32 PM


I liked this muchly!

good job!

Danny Holloway
Member Elite
since 2000-01-15
Posts 2034
Tulsa, OK
10 posted 2000-06-29 05:27 PM

~~nice writing~~
original and unique!

A life isn't significant except for its impact on other lives.

Lady in Red
since 2000-02-16
Posts 147

11 posted 2000-06-30 04:54 PM

Ahh...this is a great sonnet Pete and very well written ! I happen to love sonnets !

Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 1999-11-03
Posts 3885
Oklahoma, USA
12 posted 2000-07-05 10:30 AM

Rex, Kris, Heather, Danny and Red,

Thanks to all of you for commenting. I'm really glad you enjoyed my work.  


Senior Member
since 1999-11-05
Posts 1359
13 posted 2000-07-05 01:22 PM

haven't i seen this somewhere else pete  ? .. a sonnet !!! but i won't hold that against it ... (don't do it again tho...ha ha)..

very good as usual ....


Member Empyrean
since 1999-09-21
Posts 28049
14 posted 2000-07-05 08:12 PM

Oh, I liked this painted a picture vulnerable and alive in this room in this man.  I'm voting!
Member Seraphic
since 1999-08-22
Posts 22648

15 posted 2000-07-05 09:42 PM

Love it, Pete! Beautifully done!  


Member Elite
since 1999-09-18
Posts 2534
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash
16 posted 2000-07-05 10:07 PM


YOU are submitting a sonnet!?!  I never would have guessed!    This is one of your best, Pete.  An excellent selection.


Member Rara Avis
since 1999-07-22
Posts 9245
17 posted 2000-07-05 10:25 PM

I have to agree! Vivid imagery really enables the reader to see and smell what it was like in the poem! That's some excellent work!
Member Elite
since 2000-06-26
Posts 3168
Blue Heaven
18 posted 2000-07-07 10:44 AM

Play me a song piano man/
Great imagery


Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito. - Virgil.
"Yield thou not to adversity, but press on the more bravely".

Geoffrey Sonnen
since 2000-07-05
Posts 142
Reading, PA USA
19 posted 2000-07-08 06:37 AM

Hi Pete. I'm new here. Doreen Peri invited me on Open Scroll to come here and I'm just getting acquainted with everything. I think it's funny. I've been a professional pianist/vocalist/songwriter,etc. for 20 years now. I began when I was 17 and although I am not so "up" in years as the fellow you depicted, I FEEL world-worn for playing so long ! My fingers are still in working order though. Your offering does remind me of my mentor though. He passed away in '91. He was THE most incredible pianist I have ever heard or have known. He was even approached by Streisand back in '63 to be her accompanist, but his wife then talked him out of it, can you believe ? I found it cool how so many have replied to your work and mentioned Billy Joel. If you only knew how many times I played "Piano Man" ! If I had a dime for every...well, you know, I'd be very rich ! In addition, believe it or not, the Baby Grand I bought back in '97 was autographed and played by Billy. It's nice having it. Well, anyway, I enjoyed what you had written very much and related. Did you write this about someone you know or did you just happen to visit a piano bar and got inspired ? You know you are right about all the smoke. It can get pretty nasty sometimes. Don't know about the whores though ! Thanks for writing about "Us" !    Geoff
Member Seraphic
since 1999-05-20
Posts 21191
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA
20 posted 2000-07-08 08:33 PM

We can always count on you for something unique... because, of course, you're Not a Poet... ...*V
Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 1999-11-03
Posts 3885
Oklahoma, USA
21 posted 2000-07-10 10:05 AM

Good to hear from you. Yes this was originally posted in CA some time ago. Thanks for reading.

Really glad you liked it. Thanks for the vote  

I'm always pleased when you like one of mine. Thanks for the compliment.

Actually, I did submit a couple of non-sonnets, out here somewhere (you are, of course, invited to find and read if so inclined). Glad you liked.

Thanks for the compliments. It was fun to write in spite of the distressing image.

I only wish I were so talented as to be called "piano man."

Sounds like you were really able to identify. Not written about any one person but could fit many I have known. Payed my way through college (many years ago) as a musician (saxophone but that didn't fit the poem as well) so I have known a few.

Thanks so much, teacher, for reading and commenting.

[This message has been edited by Not A Poet (edited 07-10-2000).]

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