The Lesson By John Stupp

The Lesson

A machinist
at Ford
told me he had a guitar
and was taking lessons
it’s hard on the hands
but I have to play a little every day
he showed me his fingers
they were like rough cement
he said he saw Bill DeArango
the great Cleveland guitarist
in a group with Terry Gibbs
when he got out of the Navy
in 1947
this was at the 3 Deuces
in New York
then he shook his head
engine lines were running
the noise was its usual deafening self
dirt hung in the air
workers were coughing their guts out
there was no breeze
I was ready at the time clock
it was 1968
I was eighteen
just out of high school
I’d never been to New York
never been on a subway
let alone the South Pacific
I was wasting his time
so get fucking lost he said
and I did

By John Stupp


John Stupp is the author of Advice from the Bed of a Friend by Main Street Rag. His new book Pawleys Island will be published in 2017 by Finishing Line Press. Recent poetry has appeared or will appear in The Greensboro Review, Poet Lore, The American Poetry Journal, Into the Void (Ireland), LitMag, The Tishman Review, Door Is A Jar, A Quiet Courage and Slipstream. His poem “Goat Island” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016. He lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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