Ballad of the Rock

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The poem “Ballad of the Rock” is inspired by, apologizes to, steals from, defaces, the Lorca poem “Casida de la Rosa”. You can read my poem here   ballad of the rock

First Guitar

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First Guitar

       with a few images lifted from Lorca

The first guitar was a cardboard shoe box with rubber bands for strings
The first guitar was a hollow-bodied universe of stars and silence and chaos and feathers
It was the same crude acoustical device used by the cave people to claw their way out of the Age of Reptiles and into the Age
of Mammals
Long before humans came on the scene, the first guitar was plucked by monkeys, turtles, crickets, birds, and, of course, the
tyrannosaurus rex
The first guitar was carried to earth by the spiders from Mars
Guitars in those days were smaller, but denser, and more powerful
The first guitar resembled a tennis racket but was not a tennis racket
The first guitar was atmospheric
It appeared in the mind of Picasso and was blue
It appeared in the mind of John Coltrane and was a saxophone
It appeared in the mind of Thomas Edison and was a transistor radio
Once upon a time, the first guitar was the Amazon Rainforest, sheltering butterflies and jaguars
Guitar! Six strings still ringing like the six days of creation
Whose first bent notes did twang, even before the Big Bang
The first guitar was found under a smoldering shrub muttering the words “baby baby baby”
The first guitar was a fighting instrument of karma
Its mojo was working
Its jingle jangle was fully functional
Its fever was contagious
Guitar, conjuring invisible cities, ominous voices, dancing trees
Lorca’s guitar, weeping for the smashed goblet of dawn
Guitar who claimed a thousand times it was going to Kansas City but never actually went there
Guitar who said, “Ask not what your guitar can do for you, ask what you can do for your guitar”
Guitar whose first album was rescued from the trash and 67 years later emailed to aliens who considered it proof that intelligent life did exist on
planet earth after all
The first guitar was thrashed by a crazed gnostic monk at the little known border of gospel and punk
The first guitar was played just like ringing a bell, tuning pegs carved from the teeth of a gazelle
Six strings ringing like the six days of creation
Guitar, most magical of objects, most mournful and true
Without which my life would be not my life, but some shoddy imitation
The first guitar was a hollow-bodied universe, full of fever and feathers and silence and stars
The first guitar was just a crude cardboard box, capable of producing only one note
But that note, my friends, was a real humdinger

Buddha Rat Blues

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Buddha Rat Blues

with apologies to C .Smart, W. Blake and D. Thomas

Let’s say there’s this rat
Let’s say he’s a happy rat, let’s say he adds to the sum total of happiness in the world
Let’s say this rat is indispensable to the web of life
Let’s say he is the will of God made flesh, that he is the servant of the living God, duly and daily serving him
Or, that even if he is not the will of God made flesh, let’s say he is shot through with the electricity of earth and wind and  outer space
Let’s say he is well-liked by his peers
Let’s say that by his own standards, he is generous, persevering and highly literate
Let’s say that he is a patron of rat art galleries, and plays twelve bar rat blues on his rat guitar
Let’s say that the same force which drives the rat’s red blood drives the green fuse of the flower
Let’s say that the same immortal hand and eye which framed the rat’s terrible symmetry hammered your own bones into place
Let’s say the rat performs miracles, that he is a mystic traveler, slipping in and out of invisible dimensions
Let’s say he is a genius in his own way, has a PhD in applied ecology, knows his niche
Let’s say the rat is inflamed with the power and grace of the Holy Spirit
Or, even if the rat is not inflamed with the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, let’s just say that he is a formidable arrangement of molecules
Let’s say the Year of the Rat was an excellent year
Let’s say that you can discern in the rat, a complex melancholy which mirrors your own
And let’s say he is implicated in plagues and disasters—well, I suppose you’re not?
But let’s just say that for all his fine qualities, the rat is a rat, an actual live rodent
And he keeps you awake, he scratches, and nibbles, he defecates he gnaws
Let’s say rat begets rat begets rat
Let’s say there’s this rat
Let’s say that you have him where you want him, trapped in a cage
Let’s say that when he grips the bars with nervous dread, he mirrors a nervous dread in you
And as you shove the caged rat into the trunk of your Subaru
Going, at this ungodly hour, who-knows-where to do who-knows- what with him
You can’t shake the sense he’s trying to tell you something
That he’s a legitimate force of nature
That honest-to-God, he doesn’t know where he ends and you begin
That he’s a regular little Buddha beast if ever there was one