My Old Guitar
I played my guitar to soothe my soul,
Playing a song I wrote for her.
For tangos we once had danced.
For the love we once had shared.
The seasons of my life are songs
I have played on my old guitar --
For those who have died,
For those I have loved,
For those who left me or I them
Along my vagabond pilgrimage on earth.
My guitar soothes my aching soul.
It is the Balm of Gilead for my heart.
I built a fire for the mood of this rite,
To sing a goodbye song for her,
And burn a letter to her with my hope
That the smoke might carry away
My burning message to her.
The fire cracks and I hear a voice:
"Take this in your hands,"
the form coming up from the fire says.
The guitar that he gives me glistens.
Its form hypnotizes me and others.
As I play crowds of people surround me.
The music throbs out a primal chant.
Each time I play something fast, they cheer.
Somehow I perform this music I cannot feel --
Like a dance in shoes that are not mine and mere steps;
Like a tango composed with my feet but without my signature.
The crowd is yet larger than before.
Cheering. Hands in the air lilt right and left.
Candles waving in their hands.
The host watching roars its delight
Of the soulless music my fingers produce.
As I stop they cheer all the more.
The firey figure grows larger and recites this incantation:
"Give over your old guitar and I will give you a name!
Give me your instrument of solace for a life of fame!
The co-creator of songs, for this one which glistens.
Its mystic strings will perform and all will listen!
Without delay I gave him back The-One-that-Glistens.
"I would rather perform for the tanguera I love,"
I tell him, "And write songs of love from my heart
Or songs of hurt for my heart than to perform for millions."
The fire cracks and the form fades with his guitar.
And my old guitar and I return to our mourning
For the tangos she and I once danced,
For the tangos we composed,
Written with our feet and hearts,
On the parchment of hardwood,
And signed together at the bottom.
Burning love letter