Poetry Month Day 15: Investment

When I was ten,
my grandma-from-California
paid for me to have piano lessons
and whenever she came in town she’d
sit me down at the piano bench and say

“Well, let’s hear my investment,”
and I’d play
And most often she would nod and smile
as I played
because I sure did practice
because she needed to get her money’s worth

And then in high school
I learned how to play guitar
on a four-dollar flea market cheapie
and I’d struggle in my room for hours
with guitar chord charts
torturing the life out of
Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Peter, Paul & Mary

until my mom brought me to the guitar store
before I went to camp, saying it was
“to get a better case for you,”
except it was for a new guitar,
a hundred-dollar one,
with a real case
with real fake furry lining
and I thought oh boy
I sure need to practice
because she needed to get her money’s worth

And now that I’m a writer
and I’ve poured myself into words
and I’ve started to understand
that even though I mostly shout into the void
I still have things to say

so I’ve bought myself a real live
domain and a real live plan
which might change the way my soapbox looks
or maybe it might not
but it might be a way to put my money
where my mouth is
where my fingers are
where my heart is
and I deserve to get my money’s worth.

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5 Responses to “Poetry Month Day 15: Investment”

  1. Fran Haley Says:

    Can I say, first of all, how well-titled this piece is? And that writing is an investment with infinite payoff, even one feels one is “mostly shouting into the void”? Not surprised that you are musical, as it ties to that mathematical inclination! Peter, Paul, and Mary…my parents had the album In the Wind (from before I was born, before they were married, don’t know which of them bought it) – and in some ways, that’s the soundtrack of my early life. As a child, “Stewball” was my favorite – growing older, I nearly wore the grooves out on a couple of other songs…back to investments: much love here from those who believed in you and your music. A telling sense of responsibility on your part to not let them down (reminds me of my grandmother paying for my college algebra class when I returned to school later in life). Your investment in your site = your investment in writing = your investment in YOU, with the same love and responsibility. Says your echo from out here in the not-so-void. 🙂

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thank you Fran. I’m going to have to check out “Stewball.” It’s not one I’m familiar with. It’s interesting that you mention responsibility and obligation. Come to think of it, that really IS a driver of a lot of what I do – for better or for worse. Maybe that’s…something for me to think a little more about. Thank you for not just echoing, but bringing the waves back to me, amplified.

      • Fran Haley Says:

        Stewball is a childlike song with not-so-childlike lyrics! I love it still. I keep wanting to weave it into my writing… and I do feel we amplify one another’s words and work, Lainie, my friend, gift that you are, and for whom I am grateful.

  2. Raivenne Says:

    Yes, all of this! To quote L’OrĂ©al: because you’re worth it.

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