Saturday, May 3, 2014

Reflections on Music

In the center bedroom I sit hunched
over Alfred’s Guitar Method preparing
for Saturday morning with Mr. Picarelli,
school janitor and guitar teacher at Wurlitzer;
his brother was Billy Haley’s bassist,
making him indeed a Comet.

Then on stereo or FM radio listening
to what I aspire to actually play:
Clapton (reading Beano on Bluesbreaker
Album cover), heading to Disraeli Gears.
Grooving on Hendrix, frenetic or mellow
rotating on an axis bold as love, searching
for the Lost Chord with the Moodies,
relishing old songs with Pentangle and Fairport,
entranced as Zappa blended biting social commentary
with riffs fusing jazz and classical tones.

At those times I transcended all my angst.
For a brief time I stood on stage or
sat in studio with them creating masterpieces.

But a warped Woolworth’s electric fret board
only cuts into not-too dexterous fingers which
actually would better suit a bass guitar.
Someone who can learn vocabulary and
conjugations could certainly memorize the rest
of “I Feel Free” or provide a basis for the
six-string players out front.

By bedtime reality hovers over me,
those dreams are blocked by inability
to buy another guitar with Dad unemployed again
and Mom actually earning more than he was.
College costs money, and I would rather not
bet that I could survive a rice paddy to claim
a GI Bill that actually covered everything.

Pounding the keys on the typewriter
we already owned, I created worlds
beyond wildest imagination, easily making
peace with what I wanted once to do.

On my walls hang Zappa’s framed autograph
and a Hendrix poster among degrees and various
distinctions. The notes and chords I eventually
composed are wholly mine and satisfying.
Content with listening, I compose in my own fashion
and I am content with the way it all turned out.

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