My guitar

I bought a guitar

for six bucks

from Santiago

my neighbor from Columbia

who was selling everything

in his overstocked garage

so he could buy a used Hyundai

for his daughter

for her seventeenth birthday

“You need a lawnmower, Sport?”

he yells to me

as I walk my dog past his house

at half past nine on Saturday morning

“such a beautiful machine,”

I shake my head

in terror at the thought

of mowing the goddamned grass

he goes on:

“You need hedge clippers?…three bucks!!


fuck the hedge I say to myself


I let the dog pee in the bush beside

his house…

then it comes:

“hey…you want paint?”

but I tell him

I hate painting

and I’ve come to like

the lime green paint

that’s peeling off of my house

in strips…

(it’s good for five more years

maybe more)

then he tells me he has:

a Portuguese Bible,

a convection oven,

a five ton floor jack,

a ten ton box

of romance novels,

and a Henry Hill, autographed

ice pick


snow tires for my Subaru


the third season of Dallas

on VHS…

then he tells me about

the guitar?


so I bought it — for six bucks and I took it home

…the guitar

and for two and a half hours

I sat on the back porch with the dog

and put my bare feet on the railing

and pretended I was Ernest Tubb


Walking the Floor Over You

plucking at the strings with my good hand

until my wife came home

and reminded me

that I don’t

know how to play

the guitar.


5 thoughts on “My guitar

  1. My Dad was shown 2 chords – G & C, I think – and how to strum – and then for years he sat in with others who played, learning as he went – would keep trying a new song he’d heard on the radio while Mom fixed supper, shrugging her shoulders and crinkling her face everytime a note was missed, until he learned it and moved on to the next new tune to learn –
    The fact that you know who Earnest Tubb is, bodes well for your future as a guitar picker – – 🙂

    • I think that I have little future as a guitar picker 🙂 And I certainly will never be anything close to Ernest Tubb — a guy who was truly one of the greats. I saw Ernest with my parents back in the mid-60s or so at the KRNT theatre in Des Moines, Iowa. The Oprey used to tour around back then. I don’t think they do much of that anymore. I can’t recall any of the other performers, but I remember Ernest very well.

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