Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Friday, December 03, 2004

Lament for the Players (1999)

They came and went so fast,
I think, now that it’s been 30 years
since I began to idolize those
guitar studs jamming onstage
shaking and sweeping and strutting.
I’d be lying if I said
they were all great at guitar --
oh they were, but not purely,
as if poise were more piquant
than playing the notes.
I mean Mark Farner of Grand Funk
and Tommy Iommi from Black
Sabbath, they were as much
music in a teen’s longing
as the gods Hendrix
Clapton or Page.

For all of us there is
a brief set of years at puberty
that defines the boundaries
of our musical estate:
For me, the years are 1970-74,
“Layla” and “Paranoid”
and “Are You Ready”
and “Halo of Flies”
and “Mississippi Queen”
and “Stairway to Heaven”
all part of that mesh.
Forged in those years,
my guitar heart has
always erred on this
side of the B’s --
Bombast, Bravado, Balls,
Bitchen. Big 70s,
BigHair 80s. I never
could figure out
those small guitar
New Wave bands or
what followed to eventually
make all mine such a bad cliche.
That laughable Mark Farner
still struts inside me, saxon
savage, hairy, loud, a rooster
in the henhouse of PreUnsafeSex.
I cannot make him understand
computers. He bangs on
this keyboard like tympani.
He doesn’t grok mortage
or marriage. So I keep
him at some far arms’ reach,
opening the cage doors
now and then to give
him a drink of that ole
dirty moon in some
pretty thing at the gym.
Let him growl when
I’m on the treadmill,
shake his wet hair
when I’m lifting weights.
Feel his balls swing
as she passes by.
Caught in limbo
between my growing up
and this ennui for
what has been lost,
he’s like a ‘62 Les Paul
that can never die,
silver as the moon
and forever leaping
at the final chord,
fooling nobody but me.


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