#395: Poem on April 22, 2021

On April 16 of 2020 I wrote a poem about turntables. I even used this image as an illustration. Having forgotten about that poem, as one does, I set out today to write another poem about turntables–a little bit in keeping with today’s prompt from Napowrimo to write a poem in which an object becomes a symbol for a place or a time. I wrote this poem this evening, and then I thought to myself, I know I’ve got a good image in my media library I could use for this poem, and then when I found the image, I thought to myself, wow, I’ve probably written about this subject before. Lo and behold, April 16 of 2020 I wrote about turntables. I just almost typed a quip about feeling like a broken record. I’m so glad I stopped myself. Anyway, here’s another poem about one of my favorite past times.

Poem on April 22

Here it is: the turntable.
Even after the 90 minute
hi-fidelity blank cassette tape
made it possible to listen
to a full album without
having to flip sides,
the turntable was still
ubiquitous. Our pirate
activities entailed borrowing
albums from friends, placing
the needle down on to the
record, waiting a second
or so after the initial plosive
plop for the stylus to
nestle into the groove,
then, quickly, so as not
to truncate the first notes
of the first song, we pushed
play and record at the same
time on our cassette decks.
Every once in a while,
we’d have to take a second
pass, but after some practice,
we got pretty good at timing
things just so. These were
the glorious 70’s and 80’s
of childhood and early
adulthood, when 45 minutes
of continuous play was
as good as it got, and the
occasional pop or snap
from the vinyl was immortalized
the same way for
every playback, forever,
or until the tape went stale
or the machine chewed it up.
The turntable has made
a stunning comeback
in the last inning, and I’ve
caught the bug once again,
having sold all of my records
moving into the 90’s, replaced
every record with a compact
disc, and now, finding myself
replacing compact discs
with new records. I’ve come,
as they say, full circle, back
to myself, almost a second
childhood, where I’d love
nothing more than for a friend
to sit down with me to listen
to a record, which used to be,
and could be again,
a real thing.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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