A Poetic Flashback: Vinyl on Sunset
Flashback at the Retro Store
On a recent visit to Los Angeles, I walked into Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard and had a flashback of my youth.
I was immediately drawn to the classic rock albums of the sixties and seventies. My veiny old hands flipped through the record jackets like I was leafing through sacred scriptures and, for a brief moment, I became that long-haired teenager browsing through the albums at Franny’s Records on Bustleton Avenue in Northeast Philly. The memories all came back to me as I looked at the Day-Glo posters of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and the Grateful Dead hanging on the wall. I hadn’t felt this connected to music in years. I went down each row of records muttering the names of the groups that I loved, bumping into strangers who were equally as zoned out as I was.
The energy of that retro record store and the memories that came up for me are in the following poem, Vinyl on Sunset.
Poem: Vinyl on Sunset
It almost felt like 1973,
a psychedelic flashback,
when I walked into Amoeba
on Sunset Boulevard.
Except my hair was gray,
my eyes were baggy
and my pants not flared.
No Tibetan medallion
dangled from this middle-aged
Like my glory days,
I got lost in vinyl with ridges,
looking for the Holy Grail
among the classic rock section
of this retro record store.
Lava lamps, bean bags,
hippie girls with strawberry
the smell of patchouli incense
Rows upon rows,
stacks upon stacks
of fond memories of the 60s and 70s,
the LPs I used to play
like every moment of every day.
There were Jimi and Jim,
King Crimson and Queen,
The Rolling Stones, Quicksilver Messenger Service.
A museum of art on the wall—
Love and peace in Day-Glo.
I Get Around,
Turn, Turn, Turn and Box of Rain
still play on the turntable
of my mind.
Neil Young’s guitar
quivered to Cinnamon Girl.
Lucy’s diamonds still glistened
in the sky.
The Moody Blues’ Nights in White Satin--
Well, I still don’t understand.
Strobe lights, groovy and far outs.
The zoned out, burnt out teenagers
bumping into each other
passing around imaginary highs—
Raspberry wine, tightly-rolled joints,
over-sized bongs and roach clips,
blood-shot eyes of no return
in the musical sea of deja vu.