The Guitarist, 2019
The guitarist plucks at his strings
The metallic tumult begins
Like visions of some Viking age
developing eagle-like wings.
We can see the shape of the man
on the venue’s dimly lit stage.
Rage breeds, as the vocalist roars,
slapping shockwaves into your face,
as the mounting tension outpours,
wielding thunderbolts like a mace,
the drums set the thunderous blows
of the songs that everyone knows.
The man is a god of the strings.
His open shirt showing his chest
and their excitation grows wings.
As the sweat to his jawbone clings.
They all know that he is the best,
the greatest that they’ve ever seen.
As they savour the savage sound
the crowd waves their lighters around,
fists clenching, they punch at the air,
prodding fingered horns at the crew.
For people, the devil may care,
if he misses a note or two.
His left hand strumming his gui-tar
he pounds out some ear-pleasing chords
Arpeggios sparkle and glow.
the riffs that have made him a star.
Fast fingering frets from the boards
making sounds that all the fans know.
Enhancing progressions of sounds
he waggles his tremolo bar
nimble fingers plying the neck
ability knowing no bounds
no limits to hold him in check
dexterity taking him far.
Girls watching the twist of his hips,
enthralled by his glistening hair,
they long for the touch of his lips.
For them, he is Eros defined.
Their clamour is not for his mind
his pulsating body is there.
At the end of the set he bows
and the crowd erupts in applause
the screaming and shouting are loud.
Offstage, the musician withdraws,
and his heart is swelling with pride
and, of him, the band is so proud.
Musicians start packing away.
They pick up their amps and feel strong.
The performance turned out quite well,
for many, they cannot go wrong.
Tonight’s gig – a very big throng –
and next time, more tickets they’ll sell.
Pursuing the call of the bars,
stinking with old perspiration,
the stubble of days on his chin –
ready to conquer the nation –
Guitarist’s about to begin
his meteor rise to the stars.
When he is in the arenas,
thousands of fans, grouped in thickets,
Will he recall the admirers,
the ones he began to impress,
the fans who first bought the tickets,
thus paving his road to success?
Will singer think back to his start,
when playing those shit-venue dives,
the small ones he had to endure,
for the sake of his grinding art,
as he plods on, tour after tour,
will he think back to all those lives?
Does he love those women that crave
masculinity, music and charm?
Girls worship the man who gets pissed,
the man who can do them no harm,
the singer who’s always so brave,
the legend they call the Guitar-ist.
[Notes. This version (13/9/19 – 15/9/19) was read to an audience gathered at The Western pub for the launch of the book An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Leicester, edited by John Wilkins, 2019 on 15th September 2019. ]