Wednesday, January 10, 2007

alternate tuning

Something in the day lead me to a poem rather than an essay. I'm less confident in my poetry, but it is what I have to offer.

Alternate Tuning

I’m confused.

I don’t understand.

I’ve played guitar a long time.

But tonight, I’m trying something new.


I press the string against the neck for a

G, but the note that sounds is B.

My fingers go where they have always gone,

Only to find notes they don’t know:

My guitar has learned a foreign language.


My hands know the chords in English, I guess --

But my instrument now converses in

Farsi, French, Urdu --- Arabic?

I am a beginner again,

Trying to recognize an old friend

Who has reinvented himself.


I recognize the shape,

The way the curve fits under my arm,

But I don’t understand what he is saying.

I stumble through the dictionary

Of chord shapes, looking for something

I recognize: a meaningful translation,


Looking for a way to not feel so stupid.

I could retune the strings back to the notes I know,

We could go back to the same old chords,

But I think I would always hear

The trace of an accent in the strings.


So I try again, forcing my

Fingers to find the notes in new

Places, to let my guitar lead

Me to a new melody.
Peace,
Milton

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Milton,
Is there anything you can't do well? You are soooo going to be OK.
Bill

RTaylor said...

Wow- what a great way to share where you are. This is very evocative, and I really enjoyed it, and in a small way, resonated with it (I don't have a musical bone in my body, but the imagery still rang true).

I love the idea of an instrument with an accent!

beth said...

This really spoke to me; there's an overwhelming sadness in your imagery. Well done.

Jeff said...

Morning commute today: "And if the band you're in/starts playing different tunes..." Pink Floyd. How appropriate and synchronicit-ish and all that.

I have a high-mileage little ebay special at home currently tuned something like E B E B G#(broken string). Keith Richards used something like that to get what he called "happy accidents".

I can relate. Or hum along, whatever!

kq said...

wow, alternate tuning, eh? That is SO what this is. Thanks, again.

KQ