I Lost My Guitar

Personal, Poetry, Stories

I lost my guitar a few months ago. To be honest, I never played it much. I learnt the whole of Nirvana’s “Polly”, but it’s not the most complicated tune. I learnt riffs from White Stripes songs, like “I Smell a Rat” and “Sugar Never Tasted So Good” and “Cannon”. I learnt some Arctic Monkeys. They all felt pretty good, but I’ve just never been persuaded to put the hours in. As a kid I had lessons in classical guitar but I barely remember any of that. Maybe my fingers do, I don’t know. I imagine that’s the kind of thing fingers might do.

It had a sheen like pearls
And every time the strings
Rusted it was like the stone
Had swallowed the clam
All those times I dropped it
To the seabed, it evolved.

So I lost my guitar. Stupidly, while moving. I left it in the rental van and didn’t notice for days. When I finally realised what had happened, I just thought about going to the rental place to collect it. I mean, this place is an hour and a half walk for me. I think we rang and they said I’d have to come in person to check through lost property. I didn’t.

One dark winter it ran:
Away I guess, message in
A bottle floating along
That sea of roadways, well
A guitar in a case. Now
The case comes back as
Black velvet, the stone
Guitar impossibly gothic
Impossibly desireable –
It’s valuable now it’s gone.

Things like this really cut me up. Just neglect. Plain, simple, lazy neglect. My own I mean. Other people gotta do what they gotta do. And my attitude when playing wasn’t always great either. Like with “Polly”, that’s why I went for it: maximum impact for minimum learning effort. Still a lot of psychological going into the performance though I guess. It’s not easy singing the words of a sadistic torturer, words imagined by the late and great Kurt Cobain, last sung in what might have been his carefully staged goodbye show in New York. But fuck. It really stings to know you’ve been …consciously inadequate.

Somewhere, the velvet now
Unpacked, she sits on a lap
Singing to more cultured
Fingers and her player’s dulcet
Tones entwine with hers,
Newly-tuned, in some kind of
Loving symphony, or at least
A charming folk tune.

I lost my favourite plectrum too. This skinny yellow thing I found on the street and that I’d been using for maybe two years. You know, on-and-off, picking up some songs then forgetting them through lack of practice. But man, I realised more and more as time passed that I had a serious connection with that guitar and plectrum. The guitar had been bought for me years past, because people thought I cared about playing. The plectrum had travelled, like the coin in No Country For Old Men, through so much to get to me. These things, I mean just objects sure, but I’d just let them fall through my fingers as though they were sand. They’re not sand though.

So descend a thousand
Smoothed triangles pushing,
Prodding, poking into creases
And as I move the sweat
Sticks them deeper, their
Bright colours shining off
As I struggle with wrists
And hands, the noise
Rising above my own.

Bit of a sad one today, sorry. Some allegory here. From back years ago, learning what love and sex are. One time in particular a girlfriend left me and I was stuck with all sorts of thoughts about how great a love it had been and how certainly she’d become a sexual possession of someone else. Like how badly ruined the whole thing would be, like imagining the other guy fucking her, how it was obviously my fault. How only I failed, and continued to fail in imagining her as any kind of sexual object, in any context. I mean I was denouncing the short-lived “love” as hard as I could, as infatuation, as lust, as demented possessiveness. My whole sense of things had been so fucked up, I realised, and was still being fucked up. Until dealing with this shit, I’d not been the most social of kids. Love for me was built way up there – I didn’t look at porn, I didn’t masturbate, I didn’t do the evil thing in video games. Well, except Elder Scrolls. In that all bets were off for some reason.

And this break up and failure just…ugh. I mean it makes me a bit disgusted with myself, so much wallowing, so much thinking. I tried to ring her to talk, I sent her an angry facebook message asking her to take me back. That was it. Every time I saw her something in me died. Fuck, man, I was just done. And so I started pulling myself out by finding a place in the world of romance that would eventually become empowering, I started making my bisexuality an active thing, I started to build another identity. Basically as a sub. Like submissive. Because you know, being a sub can have such strength to it – it’s not about self-abuse, or doesn’t have to be. I started to teach myself properly about love, romance, people, the world. Oh yeah. Sex, too.

I have to go over this here because losing my guitar gave me a tiny glimpse back into how I felt then, and so the poem I wrote about it reflects in part my mindset from back in those times. The feature picture too. Not so much who I am now. But hey, if it gives me a poem and an opportunity to be real with y’all then I guess I’m not going to look a gift-horse in the mouth (or something).

Oh man it feels so much better to be me now. Not just because I could go to Soho and try and pull a guy anytime I want – and stand a pretty good chance at it for the next decade. It’s because I feel confident enough to do shit like that and know that I’m not going to crumble, or in some old patriarchal way try and own the person I want to fuck me. My heart can sing now – as cliché as that is – where before it was just giving me notifications like in Dead Rising, in those big, red, screen-spanning letters “Brian Reynolds is Dead”, “Your own sense of self respect is dead”, “Your sense of self-worth is dead”. Haha, sorry again everyone. I feel like a total mess talking about this stuff. We have more poems incoming. I’ve got a stock of oldies that need review, and I want to do some stories about ex lovers and stuff, partly fictionalised to protect the innocent. So maybe that’ll happen too. More tender, less real. Maybe. Oh and another essay en route though I feel like those are going to be less popular, but what the hey.

Yeah, so, uh, stay tuned. (see what I did there – guitar, tuned, eh, eh?)

Some News and Stewart Lee

Personal, Stories

Hey, so I’ve not posted in a while. (How many times have you heard that before?) So, here’s an update. I’ve got a couple essays I’m scared to put out, but if all goes well they should be coming in the next couple days. I know how you love my rants about the state of modern democracy and philosophical semantics, so you’ll enjoy that. Anyway…

I’ve been working for my local paper on a voluntary basis, editing their “Community” section. It’s good, it’s a way of reporting on the exact parts of a locale that I want to nurture and encourage as the first (and arguably only step) in the democratic revolution. Non-violent and legal revolution that is.

I can’t complain pal, you know. I’ve also been catching up on a few literary greats, reading some Hemmingway, Kerouac, admiring Hunter S Thompson (perhaps unhealthily) and hunting down online poetry (etc) magazines. I might make a list of them on here if that seems helpful. I might even put up some of my old poems – I found one the other day about a pigeon that’s got a cold. Trust me, it’s gold.

Hunter Thompson though, I mean what a sad end. I mean it looks like he succumbed to media pressure to become Duke for many of his formative years, and then fell into an early retirement advising some decent actors. Or maybe not. I’m sure there’s more to the tale.

Getting distracted a lot too by Stewart Lee (picture above) don’t know if you’d have heard of him…? Some good snippets of his shows on youtube. A master of comic repetition I think, but really that’s something else, some kind of unashamed stage presence, the character he’s created of a disillusioned funny man mocking the audience and himself. There is a lot to his act, and the way that every stage of talking about him contains a kind of irony and pre-existing commentary of its own only adds to the brilliance.

I’ve wanted to do an ironic comment about irony under one of his videos, but the comments sections are so dated now that to post in them would seem vaguely embarrassing. So I’ll post it here. Would’ve gone under the Caffe Nehru video, probably, though the routine comes from his other stuff, like the Ratko Mladic and Twitter segment.

Look at that man there, that man, there, wearing his suit jacket, his little Edwardian, Teddy Boy, Mod jacket turned black by the 90s and hiding half-remembered dreams of fashion, hiding his little beer belly from all the beer and Ginsters pies, that little man, there, on that comedy stage – comedy! – little man, there, with his eyes and the hairs in his nose, and his little pin on his little mod jacket, on the lapel there, his little 2009 ‘black is the new black’ many-buttoned coat of a jacket concealing the small child he ate on his way to the theatre, look at him, there, standing up on his legs, his little legs in his skinny trousers with the distressed knees, distressed so that middle class elitist liberals can pretend they had to kneel to do work, so that they can simultaneously abuse working people in South-East Asia and write reviews of paint-covered artists in South-East London, distressed elitist liberal reviewers abusing while they review people who do vaguely work, or while they provide a dim sense of creative capacity to utterly grey businessfolk, who use a veneer of personal failure and creative inadequacy to disguise wildly excessive profit margins, Stewart Lee, that man, there, breathing his little breaths in between words, little words there, words about things, look at him talking about the things, to the people, and the little people off-camera listening to the things that he’s talking about, the people there, sitting, off-camera, listening to the things he’s saying, the words, people there, people, thinking “oooh, irony has let itself go”.