Monday, June 29, 2015

The Night Guitar


The Night Guitar





Sometimes the stars mock the moon,
smaller than a paramecium
swimming in their amniotic cloud,
invisible without
a microscope. Sometimes the night's
guitar is bigger than I am, miles of
twisted mahogany too heavy
to hold.

I stand beside it, 
its ebony frets that reach past
the roofbeam, strings
like bridge cables, its round-windowed keys
bright raptor eyes
looking through me. I stand there
as I would by a trophy fish
hoist swinging up by a pulley

because some nights
are like a bad vacation
full of lousy motels, broken food,
bitching spouses. They take a picture
so all may admire 
the length, the torpid weight of
something huge
and liquid silver made dead

to hang on a failing wall.  
Other nights
the stars are drowned in moonglow,
the neck is a rosary fitting my hands, 
strings bending sweetly against my fingers, 
like the wooly necks of wayward lambs, 
and we play until dawn blows out
the candled moon.


~June 2015 










[from a dream]
for real toads Open Platform





 


Images: The Guitar, 1895 by Anders Zorn
The Trout, 1897, by Gustav Courbet
Public domain


23 comments:

  1. Fascinating piece, really vivid and enjoyable to read. And that image is lovely.

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  2. I love your dream-inspired poems, Joy. Your word choices through the first 2/3 of the poem are spectacular, lending the whole thing an oppressive, dead-weight feel like something pulled from or suspended over a chemical-fouled body of water. But then the whole thing is given an alternate ending, if you will, and the wooly necks of the wayward lambs is just spifftacular. I can't tell you how much i like that, and the candled moon.

    Weird coincidence: that's the second time today i have encountered the word "paramecium", which usually only turns up every year or three, at least in my world.

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  3. This is absolutely amazing! Well penned :D

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  4. Sometimes the night's
    guitar is bigger than I am, miles of
    twisted mahogany too heavy
    to hold.

    This is the most superb analogy on which to base the entire piece. There is a rawness to the feelings exposed within the lines, and the thankful grace of sweet repose is welcome at the end.

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  5. You had me with the title. And then the rest was more and more fascinating, until the gorgeous culmination.

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  6. The stanza that really caught my attention was the one about the bad vacation. What a really wonderful way to convey discomfort and disappointment.

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  7. What an arresting and original image - the night a heavy guitar, too heavy to hold. That is rather brilliant. Gorgeous writing, as always, wonderful imagery and I love the softer night at poem's close, when it is a rosary in your hands.....beautiful!

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  8. Oh so many images of those nights.. The nights guitar and the bad vacation really tells a lat about dreams when they are worst. Sometimes I'm afraid to go to sleep.

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  9. Nice, nice. I hope you play in waking life.

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  10. Amniotic clouds..candled moon..so many priceless images!

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  11. The night has more than a thousand eyes. It also plays a special music fiddled with chords and discords. A beautiful play on dark connections.

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  12. those necks beckon. i wish i played... ~

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  13. because some nights
    are like a bad vacation
    full of lousy motels, broken food,
    bitching spouses.

    You catch the mood Joy! One often gets overwhelmed with such diversions that it pulls back progress a little. To stand up and offer resistance will ensure fullness in our bids. Great lines Ma'am!

    Hank

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  14. Oh yes. Some nights are just like that. Interesting poetry.

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  15. Wonderful imagery here ~ particularly like the line ' Sometimes the night's guitar is bigger than I am ....' and 'the stars drowned in moonglow' ... demands several readings!

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  16. Who are these people anyway, Driscouri shrunk to the size of spit, forking us hither and yon through the surreal dreamscape? I love how the dreamer is made to view the guitar from both ends of the telescope, the one making it seem fantastically huge (and yep, heavy, anyone who's hefted a solidbody guitar like a Les Paul would know) -- as a house -- as an emblem of magnificence like a huge fish hauled from the deeparoo -- now that's clout -- and a means to mock the domestic belittlings and failure and humiliations that necessarily rim the everyday. The guitar is worst when it exceeds all that, rather than when we view through the other end of the scope and love and music are equitably right-sized, almost invisible for the music that is made. In AA they say if you want to know where your God went, ask yourself, who moved? (Or, more agnostically colored, same shit, diff'rent day: how is it that the night guitar could be the same instrument and seem so different. Oh yeah. Very keenly done and told, whatever the damn dream was sayin'.

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    1. Ha! They say what they want, then we get stuck with projecting something on them, I think. Here my feeling was how so many things overwhelm us, because, as you say--right end/wrong end of the telescope--that we later find we can deal with, once we have restored perspective. But of course, there's a bit more down in the swoon than that--isn't there always. Thanks for your insightful comment, as always , B--and watch out for those blonde Higgs bosons--they will through you for an infinity loop.

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  17. Hey Joy, I commented on this but in my interrupted-internet space I think the comment did not go through. I am glad for the revisit in any case. This is a wonderful poem--what I like a great deal--and what is so dream like--is the conviction that the night is a guitar which we very much accept as we listen to it twang, even as the imagery moves back and forth beyond guitar to something not so guitar-like--in the way that dream characters move into improbable identies--there is something very impressionistic about this--I keep thinking blue guitar or cubism with bits of the surreal worked in--

    There is so much terrific wordplay as well--the weight of the mahogany (which to me felt like agony as much as guitar wood--not sure that's used for guitar wood, but it is certainly a wood for night)--the play on the frets and the fretting--even the idea of the amniotic cloud--whose womb are we in? The dreamer or a bigger player--and of course, I love the fish hanging there, and the bad hotel. I've never asked if you are catholic but there seems to be a great deal of catholic imagery going on here--and whether you are or not, it has a lot of resonance-- one somehow senses that one of big differences in the kinds of nights at play here is the attempt to prop up the failing wall instead of giving into the wool-- counting the lambs (instead of sheep) as it were, with a kind of tunefulness.

    I really like also that silver permeating--and the change from the hung fish to the hung guitar strings. But that fish is quite captivating--I have been in those kinds of motels (ha!) But would just as soon sleep out in the car. k.

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    1. I am an athiest, k--never been in a catholic church in my life, bt I find it the most mythic of the christian variants, full of symbol. Glad to see you comment, was about to write and find out if you had survived the weekend. ;_) Thanks for picking up on so many of the nuances here-- the fingerboards on (classic acoustic) guitars are often made of ebony, necks are often mahogany(great play there on agony! tho I was remembering a particular guitar when writing that), though sounding boards and the musical body can be of many different woods, from Sitka Spruce to rosewood. So good to see you here, der k. Thanks for the lovely long comment, and sorry you had to do it over.

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    2. DEAR k--I was not intending to speak German. ;_)

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  18. "Sometimes the night's guitar is bigger than I am, miles of twisted mahogany too heavy to hold."
    I love that line. It seems so appropriate for how I have been feeling lately. Such a beautiful piece.

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  19. Some nights are truly broken. I like how you show us it in slices, the bad vacation one really is one that made me chuckle, but that I know. And the pictures. Lol. The mahogany of the night at times seems a yoke, carry it or not. The neck as the rosary is such a solid image at the end, and counting beeds like frets is what it made me think, as well.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg