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A Guitar God Reached 40

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It isn’t like that at all.

There is no OD

in room 23

of a cheap motel.

He got your guitar out of storage,

called around to all the members

of the old band,

agreed to meet at Tommy’s

because he still had

a drumkit set up in his basement.

They played for hours,

rusty at first,

but then music memory kicked in,

fingers found the sharpest fret,

the moodiest bass string,

sticks pounded

the hog out of the skins.

Not ones for nostalgia,

they broke in the past

like it was a new pair of jeans.

And they were suddenly as young

at the songs they played.

And a crowd were pouring in

while their new girlfriends grinned

from the side of the stage.

So forget the news.

Ok, so it did happen.

But he’s still 25

and the group’s got a gig

for three weekend nights

at Delancey’s.

So it hasn’t happened yet.



I won’t be satisfied until

I hear inner music.

Not just lost in thoughts

but a full orchestra

with a cello soloist.

I won’t be satisfied

until my spirit

travels to the far edge

of the universe and back

and my mind

is still around

to greet that traveling soul

on its return.

I won’t be satisfied

until emotions

take on the tangibility,

the density,

of objects.

I won’t be satisfied

until my essence pours forth

at every opportunity

and I can savor the sweetness

of lake and mountain and river

and ocean and planet and star

while lying in my bed at night.

I won’t be satisfied

until I can extract beauty

from a stone,

peace out of restlessness.

I won’t be satisfied

until satisfaction itself

becomes the natural state

and everything else

mere periphery.

I may never be satisfied.

But at least I have my reasons.



I’ve always seen the dead in you,
the proud forbidding cock of the head,
the morbid black silky wings,
those talons gripping tight
to the overhead branch
as you survey the ground beneath
for the carcass of your next meal.

You may indeed
be a kind and caring parent,
with a nest of fledglings
in the high fork of the oak,
but, when our paths cross,
it’s not as fellow lovers of
and providers for
our own.

No, you are the guarantee
that some poor creature
won’t make it across the road
without being skittled by a truck.
And I am the one
who shudders at the sight of you.
Yours is a watch
for the last moments of a bird
or some unfortunate forest creature,
who sees the demise of others
as a bounty for its kind.
An outlook so extreme
doesn’t sit well with my heart.

You’re not as hideous-looking
as a vulture.
Nor as easily forgiven
as a graceful soaring eagle.
I’ve always seen the dead in you.
But how else
can such darkness spread its wings?

John Grey (USA)

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Hawaii Pacific Review, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline, Willard and Maple and Red Coyote.

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