Seafoam Green

ANCIENT poem, probably from 1998 or so; appears in an early chapbook.  First time posted online, I think.

All I have is 
residual calluses and
bright memories of
the cool musty leaf funk 
of an October garage,
of my seafoam green
knockoff guitar —
double cutaway
six in line tuners,
triple toaster pickups, 
a cheese-whiz whammy bar–
memories of my first band
and of Janie watching me —
Janie, first girl I ever loved;
and I knew I had it all 
with her there — 
even when Jay 
sang in all the wrong keys,
even when the kick drum
fell off the pallet and sheetrock riser,
even when Tommy put down the bass
mid-song to grab a Coke,
even when my amp clipped 
and broke up in the wrong places
I knew, I knew, I knew
she was watching me,
me and my sea foam green guitar,
my chemical plant dream green guitar,
my Hendrix would have gone for the lighter early
if he’d seen the green of that guitar —

here we were
the only band in history to fuck up “Wild Thing”
and I was still sure she was watching me
as we fucked up “Wild Thing,” 

and then it was over.

Janie went her way
and like a poet I cried epics for her,
like a prog rocker I cried concept albums,
and I put that guitar away until one night
a few years later, late night college radio,
my old guitar felt like a talisman reborn
and “Wild Thing” felt like a tamed thing reborn — 
and now
I wanted to play it
the way Billy Zoom would play it,
the way Joe Strummer would play it, shit,
I’d even play it the way Patti Smith would play it —
figured any hot guitar hung low
and played high and hot
made anyone more


But all these years later,
all these bright memories later,
it feels like that dream is changing —

my daughter’s drawn
a lipstick challenge on her belly,
talks about Sleater-Kinney
the way I talk about Clapton,
daydreams the lyrics
of Bikini Kill and Cheesecake,
lies on her bed in headphones
with that old guitar of mine; meanwhile
the milder man in me
stares at old Martins instead,
listens to Kottke and Fahey
when I should be sleeping
and daydreams
my fingers into full bloom
while my wife
lies dreaming 

of…dreaming of…

Watching my daughter
with the feel
of her clench
on the neck

of my old knock off guitar,

I’m beginning to think
that a seafoam green
knock off guitar
has little to do with love,
a little more to do with lust, 
everything to do with freedom…

and I’m beginning to think differently 
of all my bright memories,

and beginning to think
that maybe, just maybe,


About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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