Disconcerting Afternoon, Sir


Certain times of day

of blushing light or

bursting bulbs I

am reminded of


I heard about in

oral histories

or saw reflected

on television

screens, I realize

I never refrained

from abiding such

vibes and now I am

enduring the same

perceptions suffered

in times of far more


viewpoints over and

over and over

And such is the only

explanation I

have as to why I

am so visibly

unsettled by the

lighting in this time

of stale afternoon

The Blond Guitar

My most valuable possession is an old, slightly warped blond guitar—the first instrument I taught myself how to play. It’s nothing fancy, just a Madeira folk guitar, all scuffed and scratched and finger-printed. At the top is a bramble of copper-wound strings, each one hooked through the eye of a silver tuning key. The strings are stretched down a long, slim neck, its frets tarnished, the wood worn by years of fingers pressing chords and picking notes. The body of the Madeira is shaped like an enormous yellow pear, one that was slightly damaged in shipping. The blond wood has been chipped and gouged to gray, particularly where the pick guard fell off years ago. No, it’s not a beautiful instrument, but it still lets me make music, and for that I will always treasure it.

by Jeremy Burden