Pantoum for Page

Karla Linn Merrifield
In the beginning was an abandoned, no-name Spanish number,
its all-that-glitters golden promise to you, Jimmy,
upon your first step up the stairway to heavenly fame,
that anonymous box-top that begat legions—

glittery double-necks, gold-toned acoustics, all promise-keeping.
Their sign on the wall is alchemical; your magi fingers flame on:
Hofner, Martin, Vox, Ovation, Tele, Strat, Gretsch, Roland, Alembic,
Baritone, Harmony, Danelectro, Graziano, Gibson Les Paul, ES, EDS, ES5.

Your magical fingering of them is your signature flaming alchemy.
It makes me wonder, o, god of cock rock, wonder about your sonic
griminess, warm, woozy, wickedly played long riffs—like quicksilver
unleashed, lusty, carnal-fevered and priapic—archetypal— as smoke through trees.
How wonderfully cocky your ungodly wang-bar abuse, your rocking supersonics.
I hear your spirit is crying the power of mystery as you torture
the life out of your guitars fretting up and clattering your ocean-sized chords.
I am not alarmed; I know there are two paths, I can change the road I’m on.

Mysteriously, torturously come these enspirited lines, crying, powerless
before you, my ruthless sultan of slash who cannot hear, even if you listen
very hard: My head is humming. I fear I can shine no white light,
nor can I buy your stairway to heaven in this bow-droned prostrate poem.

Karla Linn Merrifield has 15 books to her credit; following her Athabaskan Fractal: Poems of the Far North from Cirque Press (2019) is the new collection, My Body the Guitar, inspired by famous guitarists and their guitars, and published in December 2021 by Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY). Web site:; blog at