Daily Archives: November 19, 2016

Fretting And Picking

There’s a common guitarist’s saying:
your fretting hand shows us what you can do,
your picking hand tells us who you are.

I spend half my time trying to decide 
what that means for me, and half my time
working to make it true,

hoping that by doing that,
I’ll understand it at last. It’s all there is — 
fretting and picking

all night and day in a dream
of one perfect run that explains
me to myself. Not that I’d then

set it aside, of course;
I cannot imagine such a pursuit
leaving me unchanged.

I’d have no choice
but to start again and find out
what I could do, who I was now

as a result of learning those things
an instant before. Fretting, picking,
listening. Who am I? What can I do?


Advice For Those Weeping

If you see a gun
tossed carelessly aside
by an arrogant man who believes
its presence is enough to save him,
steal it.

If there’s a knife
left out in plain view — 
even one stained brown
or scratched from some unholy entry —
steal it.

You are going to need them all.
Disdain for such tools is no way
to enter this era — true, you cannot build
a new house with them but
they aren’t made for that work.

So if there’s an obvious vault
to be breached and plundered,
breach it.  Plunder it. It’s not going 
to open itself magically because
of tears.

As for your fear of such things,
your resistance to using them to repeat 
human behavior? Look at your hands.  
Are you human? How do you plan
to change that? Tell me, but tell me after

you seize your tools.
You will not get a chance
to remake this world
as a better place
without them.