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Steuben Plays Piano

from A Portrait of the Artist by joe Wilford

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It’s 4am in Garwood and a basement light is still on
Citation’s leaking oil in the driveway
And there are puppets on the lawn
The videotape is rolling
As Cigar smoke fills the air
Steuben plays piano
All sanity beware

His name is written there in chalk
Sprayed by the hose off the sidewalk
And there he goes again

Well what will it be this week
Will the Zeppelin go down in flames?
Or will the show shoot on location
At some remote town in Maine?
There’s a song written in tribute
To the covers of TV Guide
Steuben plays piano
The melody of jailhouse pride

What lies in the “Fun-Corner?”
A clapper hat as the headlines blur -
by from the New York Post

Aw, Steuben how we miss you
And your ever-zany ways
There’s no way we could forget you
Or those Qua-Qua Quality days
It’s time for “Pillow Talk” now
As the lit cigar explodes
Steuben plays piano
In the unfinished episode

The basement lies in darkness now
A brilliant life cut short somehow
Why did you have to go?


from A Portrait of the Artist, released February 12, 2004
Words and music: joe Wilford and Tom Gallison




Joe Wilford Iowa City

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