“Guitar Repair Woman”, by Buddy Wakefield
My mother told me,
“If you ever become a rock star
do not smash the guitar.
There are too many poor kids out there
who have nothin’
and they see that shit
when all they wanna do is play that thing.
you better let’m play.”
Okay, if she ever starts in on one of these
your best bet is to pull up a chair, chief,
‘cause Momma don’t deal in the abridged
She worries about me so much some days
it feels like I’m watching windshield wipers
on high speed
during a light sprinkle
and I gotta tell’er, “Ma,
yer makin’ me nervous.”
She was born to be laid back,
y’all, I swear,
but some of us were brought up in households
where Care Free
is a stick of gum,
and the only option for getting out
is to walk faster.
in high heels
while bursting my bubble,
double checking my homework,
rolling enough pennies
to make sure I have lunch money,
and preparing for a meeting at school
on her only day off
so she can tell Miss Goss the music teacher,
“If you ever touch my boy again, big lady,
I’ll bounce a hammer off yer skull.”
I remember her doing these things swiftly
and with a smile
in her discounted thrift store business suits off
She wore them bright and distinguished
to cover up the 30 years of highway scars
truckin’ through her spine.
you don’t need to see, rubbernecker.
’cause she made it.
and she’s famous.
We can stretch Van Gogh paintings
from Kilgore, TX to Binghamton, NY
and you still won’t find the brilliant brush
it takes to be a single mother
sacrificing the best part of her dreams
to raise a baby boy who-on most days-
she probably wants to strangle.
We disagree-a lot.
For instance, she still thinks it’s okay
to carry on a conversation
at 7 a.m.
whereas I think…
Oh, wait, I’m sorry…
I don’t think at seven in the morning.
But we both agree that
makes no mistakes.
So at night time,
when she’s winding down
and I’m still writing books about
how to get comfortable in this skin she gave me,
I see rock stars on stages
It’s then when I wanna find’m a comfortable chair
get’m a snack,
and introduce them to Daylight:
This is my mother,
Tresa B. Olsen.
Runner of the tight shift.
Taker of the temperature.
Leaver of the light on.
Lover of the underdog.
Mover of the mountain.
Winner of the good life.
Keeper of the
And I am her son,
I play a tricked-out electric pen,
thanks to the makers of music and metaphor,
but I do my best to keep the words in check,
and I use a padded microphone
so I don’t hurt you,
because sometimes I smash things,
and I don’t ever wanna let’er down.