Authenticity

Say

do you have a banjo I could borrow 

I sold mine
to the grocer’s son  

He said

he could afford a new one
but preferred to own 
one with a history  

I told him

everything I knew about mine
how it had been 

unplayed for years
sat
in a closet in my uncle’s house

My uncle didn’t know where
it had come from either
and gave it to me

It hung on 
my family room wall for 
a while before I put it in
the yard sale

It had the name “Buckbee”
stamped in the neck — manufacturer’s 
name
I looked it up once
It was
nothing special
They were not great instruments
A door to door
sales force
sold them in the 
1890s
Cheap instruments made
for folks who couldn’t afford
more — oh

the grocer’s son loved that
and gave me a lot more money for it
than it was probably worth

I don’t play
he said
but this way I’ll learn
on something authentic
thank you
thank you thank
you

so
getting back to the point

do you have a banjo I could borrow

I’d like to see if it’s something
I could learn to play but I’ll be damned
if I’ll spend money on something
I don’t know if I’ll keep doing

Be a shame to have it end up
in a closet somewhere
for the next grocer’s son to buy
years and years from now

If I like playing I’ll get my own

and that way the only history
it would have
would be ours
If you ask me

you can buy the banjo but
the history between player
and played
can’t be bought

but then again I’m not
a grocer’s son

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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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