If in some future heaven
I could slide into a red-vinyl booth
In the corner of an empty diner
And watch The King spoon sugar into his coffee
I’d ask, “When you put a guitar
under your arm the first time
did it feel like lightning? Or was it fumbling,
clumsy, pushing tiny fingers into sharp strings?
As you tumbled through the scales
did you hear a small voice of God
telling you someday this soup of notes and chords
would coalesce into a voice all it’s own?
And once you thundered out into the world
and everybody, everywhere loved you
was it harder to reckon with the secret,
inner parts of you you thought unlovable?
Did you also feel adrift, unsalvageable, a fraud?
If having everything anyone could want
couldn’t make you happy or whole,
did you ever worry you were damned?
In choosing this extraordinary life
Was there ever a part of you, under the sequins
That yearned for normal — uneventful,
anonymous, and joyous all the same?
As I stare deep into the Formica counter
And swish coffee around in my mug
threading my fingers around it for heat, I’d ask:
Would you choose all this again, a second time?