He was just another traveling salesman,
oily black hair and Elvis sideburns,
but he somehow formed my five-year-old
fingers into a D chord on the hard frets.
Mother liked him because he was
her type, but even I knew
he was a conman.
Mother liked him.
So those sounds conjured from cat-gut
and a box of balsa wood
may be the reason I one day
actually learned to play, first
on an unturned Sears and Roebuck
Les Paul, and later in a band or two:
you know, a couple of bar gigs
and basement boxes of CDs
that never sold.
Now, past it, I play
only for myself, arthritic fingers
creaking and popping,
but as if someone were really listening.
Door to the den closed,
I’m surprisingly good, maybe
even better than Charlie Byrd,
Eric Clapton, and Chet Atkins
put together. At least,
that’s what all the women say.