Old Man and His Guitar


Today I sat and listened to an old man playing guitar.  He sang in a voice that cried like a Cash but flavored by the sea.  Told me he had been playing since he had been nine.  From a nowhere corner of Canada on an Island further from there.  His nose bloated and bulbous from a life of heavy drinking.  His body and mannerisms what you would think when you picture a sunbaked drunkard in some old western mining town, except himself seasoned with northern sea and snow. 

He could be anyone.  Any old man.  From anywhere.  A cigarette between his strings.  Lips sucked in from the draw.  Holes in his badly soiled pants with the stink of weeks unwashed upon them.  Held up by haphazardly worn suspenders.  Matching hat with wisps of white hair.

His music makes me want to cry but people keep passing.  Never stopping to listen.  Can they hear?  Singing of beautiful women and Jesus Christ.  Of the good times forgotten to all except his old mind. 

I love him.  I love him for the tears he brings to my eyes.  For the sadness and hopefulness that floats from his strings.  I imagine angels in the airs above him greedily stealing the notes for themselves.  Never blessing him but with more life so he can play for them more.  Fuck them.  They should let others listen.

After a while I gave him twenty dollars and said goodbye.