Rainy Saturdays, I played her records, Love Me Do and Hard Day’s Night
The Beatles pre-drug songs of love. I laid the needle down
on Lennon’s sweet voice, my mother’s autograph on the back
of Frank Sinatra, Johnny Beecher’s alto sax, Aretha’s sweet scream. I slid black LPs
out of paper sleeves, slipped foam headphones on and danced to Ram Bunk Shush
by The Ventures, stretching that cord as far as it would let me.
The day my father died, I played “Winter” by Tori Amos over and over.
That live video of her hammering keys, crying in Montreux.
My mother played the two finger rosary downstairs while I made mixtapes
for people who didn’t exist. Depeche Mode and The Cure, Morrissey, B sides
from throwaway singles. I miss those big album covers. The way Rough Trade
liner notes smelled like attitude and patchouli. I listened to a Smith’s bootleg
on cassette while my mother bagged up my dad’s things, dress shirts and slacks
a long black overcoat. The Smiths closed with Panic, shrieking guitars,
then applause. That white noise you have to wait for when the music’s over.
Robert Walicki is the curator of VERSIFY, a monthly reading series in Pittsburgh, PA. His work has appeared in a number of journals including HEArt, The Kentucky Review, VerseWrites, and the radio show Prosody. He won first runner-up in the 2013 Finishing Line Open Chapbook Competition and was awarded finalist in the 2013 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition. He currently has two chapbooks published: A Room Full of Trees (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014) and The Almost Sound of Snow Falling (Night Ballet Press, 2015), which was nominated to the 2016 New York Showcase of Books at The Poet’s House in NY.