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POEM: Roll To Me

Roll To Me

We had the three networks and PBS and UHF
and the nearest music store was 45 minutes away.
The late shows had musical guests, so once we got a VCR
I started taping the bands I liked, or the bands I wanted to like.
10,000 Maniacs & Del Amitri & Black 47 &
Go West & Blues Traveler & & &.
The tracking was bad on the tape and the reception
had never been good to begin with, but I watched those songs
again and again until the artists were no longer even visible,
and then I just listened, until even the sound went.
I backed into a lot of music in those days.
It wasn’t about searching. It was about chancing upon;
accidentally getting a copy of On The Corner before
ever even hearing Kind Of Blue. Most of my music
was on records from my grandpa or dubbed cassettes
of things in my friends’ collections. In the mid-80s
I went to the tape shop in the mall and bought the first music
I’d ever paid for with my own money: Chuck Mangione’s
An Evening Of Magic — Live At The Hollywood Bowl.
It was a double cassette. A thick brick of brilliance.
When I learned to drive, I always wanted to borrow the Escort
because it had a tape deck. The Soul Cages & Signals &
Seconds Out & Bring On The Night & Brain Salad Surgery &
Running In The Family & Love Over Gold & The Final Cut,
all blasting out in the Ontario County night.
When it snowed, I’d put on a tape of the Star Wars soundtrack
and drive the deserted back roads with the brights on —
the poor kid’s hyperspace.

/ / /

26 July 2023
Charlottesville VA

This is poem #5 in a new series, 50 Days Till 50 Years. I’m writing a poem a day between now and my 50th birthday. I’m going to try to focus on memories of my past, and the people who inhabited it.

Published in 50 Days Till 50 Years Jazz Music My poems Poetry


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