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“The Devil Box That Played Itself” by Ramon Jimenez

He played all night
until his lady told him to cut it out
because it was quiet hours.
But that night he could not sleep.
Frustrated, he tossed and turned in his slumber,
struggling to accept he lacked the skills.
But this was what he wanted.
To play that devil box of an instrument
because he came from a family of musically inclined people.
He clamored in his thoughts.
Wondering why he could not get his fingers to move right. His left hand seemed too slow to hold down the bass tones and his right hand was too sloppy, hitting the wrong keys, even messing up a major scale. After an hour of mentally wrestling with it, he allowed the angels of sleep to drift him away on soft cotton pillows.
Dreams of islands vacations, tropical paradise and ripe mango trees.
He could be in Colombia. Or out in his parent’s ranch in Mexico.
Music emanating from everywhere.
Dancing and drinking.
The slaughter of a goat to celebrate his arrival.
In this dream he is not in the cold, rainy dark lands of the north
where the sun sets early.
Here there is plenty to eat and everyone around him shows him love.
Dreams so opposite of his real life where he is the family outcast.
That weird cousin that never got married.
That wired uncle with no kids in his mid-thirties.
That son that doesn’t believe in god, or Jesus or the Virgen de Guadalupe.
An atheist madman turned lunatic and obsessive by books and rebellious ideas.
But he dreams in accordion melodies.
The squeeze and wheeze of that box
that can be German one night and Mexican another.
He dances to cumbias in B minor.
Plays polka, Rancheras and corridors.
Even a couple Russian songs come out.
In his dreams he can play it all without hesitation
Both hands working like a team.

The next day, his babe was pissed.
“Where you playing that shit last night at 3am in the morning?”
He looks her right in the eye and says, “please stay out of my dreams.”

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