The Thing That Sits in the Corner

Play Me, says the candy apple red 1966 Fender Telecaster
guitar lurking in the corner of my office
I’m better than the red pill or the blue pill and I won’t
make you larger or smaller than you already are, it says
I’m busy, I say. Writing, email, taxes, dinner plans, you know
Hey, why don’t you give us a tune, I say

        Hats cover up what needs covering up
        but belts only hold up what is heading
        for the ground anyway

What the hell is that, I say. Shut up or give us real a tune
The guitar, all country blues snarls, grinning
Like Buddy Guy with soft eyes like Brad Paisley, shrugs
and sings in a country baritone

        I don’t know if it’s better to stand in a line
        than to swing on a rope and let go
        But I do know it’s better to know how to sing
        than to try to keep steam from rising

        Mussel shoals is a place where the diners stay open
        till the sun comes up in the morning
        And everyone knows it’s the best place to go
        If you need a little encouraging

The song makes more sense than I want it to. In fact
it sounds like something I wrote
I lean over and start reading email. Someone has sent me
a link to Rory Gallagher singing his Cradle Rock

        If I was a cradle then you’d let me rock
        If I was a pony then you’d let me trot
        If I was the atom then you’d split me into three
        But when I want to see you, baby
        How come you lock your door on me?

Oh boy. Truth is, the guitar sitting in my office belonged to Rory
It came from his estate. It’s like Rory sent me the link himself

        Hey, man I did send you the video. Listen to it
        It’s just another language. Everything goes
        back to the blues and finding the one
        Finding the one is what all art is about
        You don’t have to be me, or Transtromer
        or Kingfish Ingram or Salvador Dali, you just
        have to do you. Just do you. That is enough

I don’t play much rock, I say. I bought your guitar because
I fell in love with the sound of it. Don’t do me, do you, he says
Finally, I pick up the guitar. The back has belt buckle scratches
and the paint is chipped and everyone who played it in the store
Fell in love with it too. OK, I say, maybe somewhere there is
a pony or an atom or someone who needs to hear my own Cradle Rock–
All my poems that need to find their own place in the world
with or without a fancy guitar backup. I’ve got my own chips
And buckle scratches and my volume control is pretty worn too
But I’m turning it up to eleven now
And I have always wanted to see Mussel Shoals

2 responses to “The Thing That Sits in the Corner

  1. Damn! Lots of life in this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Craig Brandis (aka Burl Whitman)

    Thanks, bro


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