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.
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.