Daily Archives: December 4, 2021

Guitarist’s Prayer

Poem from late 1990s. Lightly revised.



“ it was not the first time /  I left a guitar behind  / and it would not be the last” 
— patti smith, “munich”

dreaming of things beyond / my own ruin

i pray for a
ruined guitar

i pray my
hands will some day pry open /  the lid on the case where hope is hidden

and brush
aside the fierce ills that torture me  / as they fly by

and if
/  as i suspect /  i find that hope is a guitar that’s been trapped for too long

one that’s
been scorched and broken

neck just
cracked enough / strings just frayed enough

that one
good chord / will rip the instrument finally / apart

i pray that
my hands will recall their past

i pray the
strap will hold / when i lift that guitar into place upon me

i pray
there’s a decent cable /  in the case

i pray the
Amplifier of Heaven /  is plugged in and warmed up near by

i pray i
will remember /  the name of the right chord

i pray i
will remember how /  to set my hands in place /  on the strings /  so that chord can pour through them

i pray i
take a long quiet moment /  before i strike  / for the spaces are as important as the music

i pray i
have the patience /  to not worry too much / about the perfection of the tuning

i pray the
Pedals of all the Saints / are arrayed before me

i pray for
enough time to stomp every possible voice / into that chord before it fades

for the
right chord is itself a prayer

and tonight

i pray that
i pray it / just right

i pray that
then / i will have enough grace / to know when i am done

to know when
to set that wreckage down