May 24, 2011

Amplitude Modulation

At our March Ekphrastic Art 3 gathering my partner in ekphrasis created this beautiful poem. We worked on coming up with a theme for our art and settled on rock and roll - which begat AM radio, transistors to be exact. My artwork was sold without (gasp) a photo, but was based on the above images. I share this with you in poetic form below because it just sums up summers on the banks of Lake Champlain in my bikini with my friends and a beach towel and my little grey leatherette cased transistor radio playing Big Yellow Taxi ....

Amplitude Modulation by John Michael Albert (my hero)
January 29, 2011

I don’t care when you were born, if you didn’t hit
the big one-three by the early sixties, you missed it.
You missed the invention—did you get that?—
the invention of the transistor radio.

You no longer had to wait for the house to empty, then wait
for the tubes in that handsome, veneered cabinet
in the living room to warm up, then sit so super-close
to the speaker only you could hear the beat.

You could sneak your handy, pocket-sized radio
to your bedroom, to the beach, to anywhere
your parents weren’t, and learn everything they
didn’t want you to know about the world—in short,
three-minute lessons. Did they ever tell you about
California girls, or where the Mersey River is,
or what was going on at The Rising Sun, or that
all songs should be about a girl or sung to a girl?

That little, red battery-pig gave your mind genuine
Amplitude Modulation the moment you turned it on.
Who else would tell you what a three-dog night is,
what places a surrealistic pillow would take you to

in the company of an ageless white rabbit?
From the time baby love had you dancing in the streets,
until you knew, first hand, the benefits of being
eight miles high with a girl named Lucy, the nerds

who invented the transistor were your best friends.
Next stop? The other switch on your transistor,
the wild thing that would move you from the safety
of your wider world, to the world of heavy metal,

ten-minute songs, and a new, more florid vocabulary,
in the intense, once forbidden kingdom of FM.

1 comment:

Geek+Nerd said...

I just love the line "all songs should be about a girl or sung to a girl." What a wonderful poem...and no, I wasn't there, but my parents were, and I'm so lucky to have a love of that music because of them :)