Afternoon Poem, May 12, 2015

I thought then that he was impossibly old.

Too old for this job of his that involved spinning records all day.

Sitting there in that little room, the black headphones over his bald pate.

This was 1970 and all the records were pressed vinyl

And the turntables were covered with green felt.

I’d just mowed the lawn outside the building

And gone inside to get a cold drink from the station’s machine.

He motioned through the studio window to tell me that the microphone

Was not on.   He was telling me to come inside.

He pulled a worn album from the wall of records and drew the black disc from it.

Let me tell you something about this guy, he said.

This guy can sing.  There ain’t nobody like him.

Everybody else who sings this stuff is just trying to copy him.

Fifty years from now, nobody will remember any of the rest of these guys.

But Frank will still be famous.

You’re too young to know what he’s talking about

But this might give you some idea

Might help you out some day when you do learn what he’s talking about.

 

And the next song to play was one about moonlight

You’re all dressed up to go dreaming, the singer belted

And I dug in to take every word and note of that song

Every sweep of the orchestra’s strings

 

Years later I saw a girl who was all dressed up to go dreaming

And I heard the song again.

 

Copyright 2015

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