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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

neck anymore.

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

blond hair,

Zigzag papers,

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.


Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on December 06, 2018:

I think it was in the Leo Mall if I remember. But that was in the 70s. I wasn't there in 2015. I had left for California in 2012. Thanks for the compliment, Chris. I enjoy your poetry as well. Have a good holiday.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on December 06, 2018:

It isn't just a walk down memory lane. Much more than that. You pulled a lot of those days into this poem. Nicely done. I lived in northeast Philly for a year and a half in 2015 and 16. Been on Bustleton, but didn't see the record store.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on October 24, 2018:

Thanks, William.

William Coeur on October 24, 2018:

Takes the reader back in time. Well done.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on August 01, 2018:

Thanks, David

David Irvine from Norwich UK on August 01, 2018:

'Psychedelic flashback' love it.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on July 29, 2018:

Thank you, Genna

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on July 29, 2018:

Hi Mark...

I liked this poem...


"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."

"...in the musical sea of deja vu."

Well done. :-)

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on July 04, 2018:

Thanks,manatita, keep rockin’. Sorry about your not so good Deja Vu.

manatita44 from london on July 04, 2018:

I like the 'Neil Young's guitar stanza most. Gave me memories too. Not so long ago, bro, not so long ago.

I had a Deja Vu experience in Kenya recently. Not so nice, Bro. Not so nice … much peace.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on July 02, 2018:

Thank you Rinita. Little record players and Vinyl are trendy right now. Tell me what you think, when you give it a try.

Rinita Sen on July 02, 2018:

I have never owned a vinyl record, being born past that age, but I always had a fascination for them. Your stories (I know it is a poem but the vivid descriptions of the mind racing through nostalgia bring about a thousand stories here) inspire me to get one now, just for the keeps. Loved this!

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on July 01, 2018:

Its funny, John, I feel like I live near a time machine. There's an outdoor concert hall right around the corner. And many of the older performers come and play like Dylan, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, etc. I can hear them playing in my backyard. What a treat! Thanks for reading.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 01, 2018:

Mark, thanks for the flashback to the 70s with this great poem. Stores like that act like time machines to transport us back to our youth for just a small moment in time. I have kept my record collection, even my parents and grandparents old 78s and have a record player so I can still enjoy them. Most of the music of the day was so uplifting and inspirational.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on July 01, 2018:

Thanks Verlie and Tim. That music seemed to seep into our pores and subconscious. Back then, I didn’t realize how strongly that music affected me and that the days of amazing song writing was so temporary. I’m just so glad that I experienced it and all the other changes and developments, socially and politically, that was connected to the music and to that era. Have a great Sunday.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on July 01, 2018:

Hi, Mark,

My wife and I love the oldies stations we listen to as we cruise around our state. This poem made me smile. every morning, we tune into that old 1970's show, "Good Times," and try to remember if we got the jokes while we talk about Zeplin,Parliament Funk, and all of the great tunes from that era. Who can forget Shaft and those afros?

Like vinyl, spinning on a turntable, those things of the '70's come around again. The production quality of the music has achieved incredible gains technologically, but the quality of songs have changed. Maybe people will start writing songs that way again.

Thanks for a wonderful poem and a reminder of how important those dwindling record stores are. I read your poem and listened to it as well. Fabulous poetry as always.



Verlie Burroughs from Canada on July 01, 2018:

Wow Mark! Great poem, great sound clip of you reading. It's all so familiar. Music can bring us right back in time.

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