Patchoulli Afternoons, A Yesteryear Memory

Walking on a crowded sidewalk
people mingle with streetcars
while traffic signs signal whether to cross or not
air braked buses grind and too loud, too much bass bumps down 53rd Street
and I happen to pick up the scent of patchoulli from a passer-by.

I was 22 or 24 in my apartment,

just back from working the lunch rush,
biding my time until i had to leave to man the register, hear lessons that were unpractised and unappreciated
by wide-eyed boys, who marked their electrics with Eddy Van Halen tape and I had just settled in
to restring a student-sized Yamaha
or take calls to reschedule appointments while beats bangs and thumps on drum pads crashed my right ear

the only solace from the day-to-day Parfait House/Music Box express was to be with my Blonde, Jumbo-bodied Ibanez.

Vapors patchoulli
surrounded my essence of sandalwood
fueling desires to gently reach to grasp the neck in gentle attentiveness
on my lap
i sensed dischord.

Without a flinch of my brow,
inhaling that patchoulli which lined the case, I plucked
each string, one at a time, turned the key and nodded with agreement when it sang the expected note.

When I was satisfied that my voice would blend, I began to play Neil.

Or was it The Mann, in Philly?,
or was I recalling a smaller venue – at Rider?
Either way, it was the last time I saw Michael Hedges play his signature Harp Guitar
and I was settling in to hear one man’s fingers conduct a soul symphony
after lighting a stick of patcholli
and sticking it between the strings at the top of his guitar.

-dld september 17th, 2010


T10- Member’s Pick, Friday:A guitar case


2 responses to “Patchoulli Afternoons, A Yesteryear Memory

  1. Quite an array of images…from tactile to olfactory in the poem…thanks for sharing the poem.

  2. and I thank you for the read!

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