I don’t know where your black shoes are.
We don’t have time to curl your hair
At this point, my dear, I really don’t care
Just grab your stuff and get in the car.
Why do we do this to ourselves each May,
This ritual humiliation we call the recital?
Can this two-hour battle of flesh versus machine be as vital
To our children’s development as their teachers say?
Leave your sister alone, you unrepentant brat!
Can’t you see she’s having nervous fits
About the middle section of this piece? It’s got her scared to bits.
And don’t say that dress makes her look fat.
Look, I love soccer, but I wouldn’t love it more if you made me
Take a penalty in front of a thousand people, for crying out loud.
Why can’t these poor frightened souls be allowed
To play for fun at home instead of out where everyone else can see?
Oh gosh, there’s your grandma in the second row.
All her friends from church have come along
To hear you play your two-finger version of a patriotic song.
You’d better stop your tears, or all the makeup stains will show.
I’m all for music lessons, please don’t get me wrong. I’m quite aware
They teach us discipline, which is of course right and good.
But somewhere I think we crossed the line, and what could
Have been encouraging to kids has instead become a collective nightmare.
There she is, under the lights. She looks so innocent
Sitting on the piano stool, preparing to do violence
To America the Beautiful. In her defense
The outfit’s pretty, even if her playing’s only twenty-five percent.
You show me a gifted pianist playing Chopin out his mind,
I’ll see your smug little prodigy and raise you
Five hackers lurching sweat-drenched and distraught through
Fur Elise like a drunken typing pool. Full house beats one-of-a-kind.
Oh, well done, you were divine, a taste of heaven to the ear!
These flowers are a token of my love and great esteem.
You are so talented and brave. Let’s go get the largest ice cream
We can find, and forget this charade until we have to do it all again next year.