The guitars my country of old men loves to hear
support the binary my country of old men adores.
They must have either six or twelve strings,
must be either acoustic or electric.
My country of old men mostly loves only songs
that are played on guitars. If there are
mandolins or banjos in the song they must be
there only as adjunct to guitars. Ukuleles
have their place among the acceptable
for their chiming and their cute faces; they look like
infant guitars to the old men and who would take
such candy from babies? They’ll surely outgrow them.
A bass guitar is acceptable; this is why it is called
a guitar. Any other instrument with strings
is inferior to guitar and should be at best
relegated to guitar support, say the old men
of my country. This is why no one around here
recognizes any kind of cuatro or knows what a saz is,
why no one has ever heard a vihuela, a charango,
a guitarra de Lisboa.
Those who play such dangerous instruments
keep to themselves around here for fear of
my country of old men. You have to spin the dials
a long time on secret radios to hear any of them played.
It’s as if the old men
know this would be
a different country if everyone
heard those sounds.