Thanks for that ignorance
which led me to pick up the cuatro
that first time in the music store, to put it back on its rack
still knowing nothing of it.
Thanks for that luck which soon led me
to a concert where I saw it played
by its master Yomo Toro, for that stroke
of light and awe that laid me down.
Thanks for the day in Lowell
where I met a luthier who made such things,
who cut them from living trees in the old style
and who played one of his own for me.
Thanks for the surprise of Yomo Toro,
again, appearing before me at a free concert
at the local Latin Festival, once again
allowing me to bathe in not-knowing’s joy.
Thanks, then, for what happened
when I heard he was ill, was dying.
Thanks, then, for what drove me
to the local music store that day
to find one, to play one, to know
nothing and play one, to find a song
upon it had gotten stuck to my fingers
and was demanding I take it home
so the song could come forth and breathe.
Thanks for the payday that made it happen.
Thanks for the heat of the day
that made me rush home to play.
So good to be a beginner again. Good to lay my pen and poems aside,
to leave the guitar in the rut we’ve made for each other,
to stretch and wiggle out the agony in my fretting hand,
to have no clue where I’m going from here with this.
Thanks for how my hands now hurt. Thanks
for this ignorance and this unclear path
to mastery, again. Thanks for the untutored
music I have made today — and
thanks above all for Yomo Toro, a fat man in a straw hat
dying somewhere in the Bronx, two hundred miles
from here, who does not and will never know me
and my clumsy songs, but who brought them surely into the world.