Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The guitar prayer (far east Oakland)

Bryan asks me to bless him
Walks behind the table where I am sitting,
into a room and comes out with a new guitar in a case.
He pulls out the guitar
Places it in my hand
Then he stands at the head of the table
Puts a plastic glass filled with a bit of water
and leans a plastic-encased god against the glass 
Places his palms together
and bows his head
I begin strumming minor chords, diminished chords
double-diminished riffs and a Victor Jara or two melody.
Bryan then kneels
Eyes closed,
his arms and hands still palm to palm 
held tight to his chest
He bends down touching the tiled floor with his forehead
in the communion of my rattling guitar
The strings become disembodied paths,
the explosion of time strewn across your lap
I improvise I invent I hum I hit the harmonics
I vibrate in the ultimatums gushing out of the mouth of the guitar
I bend the strings, twisting the voice of the faithful to stand up
against the mercy of a merciless god
The guitar becomes a wall pushing me
to the edge of another spiritual disaster
There is tremolo in my fingertips
Making space flutter, implode, scratch, annul the human pact
I inject the music, the tones, the rusty strings into my skin
Invading the veins, subjugate the heart
My body becomes transformed into a well of noises, lungs and monsters
My bones become the broken strings that stitch together what remains
of my corpse, my soul, my bloodied tongue
Bryan kneeling is unmoved by the turbulence of the guitar upon him
I am breathing, choking, being sucked under through the mouth of the guitar
I am ingesting the suffering, the breach
where the enemy of noise storms my body
I keep strumming, plucking sounds out of god's breasts
Bryan has dissolved into himself
a mirage, a beggar, a street-corner guitarist
wailing, breathing, becoming a son without a mother
The guitar brings us both back to the cafe where cups clink on tabletops
Friends talk becomes a blurring of words cut into waves of human comfort
Bryan stand up slowly, his hands palm-to-palm still against his chest
He opens his eyes and declares:
The water is now holy water.
Should I drink it? he asks for my opinion.
You should go outside and pour on a plant, on the dirt
Offer to our ancestors mixed there.
One day our descendants will also pour water holy or not
at the new year's eve or on our anniversary
to let us once again drink together, live together, eat together
Praying or warring
Divided or hurt
Willing or not
Alive in any case.
Bryan lifts and places the plastic cup of water next to my laptop
Please share the holy water, pour it for me on the dirt and plants outside.
He walks away
the music swirling around him
Biting him, chunk by chunk, distracting his body
And he dissolves into the breath of a shadow....

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