A little bit of poetry

As part of the literature that we will be focusing on in Trilith will be poetry/slam poetry that draws its influences from pop culture and geek culture. The following example is a poem by award-winning slam poet Brian Ellis from his first book “Uncontrolled Experiments in Freedom” available from Writebloody press.

Elegy for the Cassette Tape

When I was six years old
There was only one way I could get to sleep:
A centimeter-wide magnetic strip
That contained Dr. Seuss’s “If I Ran the Zoo.”
Later that same year I saw Back to the Future
For the first time
And the next day I fought with my older brother
Until he caved in and bought me
Chuck Berry’s Greatest Hits

I listened to that tape until it broke
When it did I became a combat surgeon,
Opening it up and using my mother’s sewing scissors
To cut the scotch tape to the perfect width,
Because my salvation lived in that plastic ribbon
The cassette tape is physical

It’s the difference between getting porn off the internet
And going to a XXX movie theatre:
Masturbation should be dangerous.

Your tapes lived along with you
I had a small beige briefcase
With latches on each end, and I absconded
With my siblings’ cassettes until it was filled
The final tape was the holy grail…
The Green Plaid Album by the Mighty Mighty BossTones

And that clunky black tape player, which was heavier
Than anything I owned until I was eleven,
Which was rescued from the attic or the basement
And you had to press down on the play button real smooth-like
Or the whole thing got jammed, but
I could do it just right
Because me and that machine, we knew each other

Had spent many nights together
In the back of the Lincoln, volume turned to one so as not
To wake my mother in the passenger seat
Feeling the whirr of the spools travel into my shoulder,
Mouthing the words to “Norwegian Wood”
Which I could barely hear over the crackle

I liked the Beatles
They made albums you could listen to
Beginning to end
Because jumping around from song to song
Is a pain in the ass on a cassette

This September a friend of mine gave me his old walkman
and when I rode the T the people around me
Were plugged into these digital boxes with
Eighteen-gazatrillion songs
That are never enough
Meanwhile, in my bag, I had Desire and Pearl
And they were the only two albums I needed

So you can listen to music that
Will go with you anywhere
But I wanna listen to music so necessary
I’ll do anything to get to it,

Gorge yourself on this thin creativity all you want
I’d rather consume art with a presence
Maybe a little hiss and crackle

The cassette tape was trying
To teach us something about economy
The cassette tape didn’t become obsolete,
We just got boring
It’s not that the future is coming faster and faster
It’s that the past wants nothing to do with us

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