The Guitar in Blow-Up

I gave away all the cassettes
I'll never play again
Hundreds in crates of wood
Plastic and cardboard
And kept only the compact discs
In their jewel cases, some thin
Some thick, row upon row of them
Though now all my music is suspended
In ones and zeros on flash or spinning
Media, like ants in amber

I still keep a shelf of vinyl records deep
In the recesses of my wiring closet
They used to be the backups for my cassettes
As the CDs now back up my MP3s
Just in case I feel the need to hold
Some scratchy Cat Stevens
In the warmth and comfort of its album cover
After all the cassettes are gone
And the hard drives eventually crash

Books can also give me warmth and comfort
When I touch the paperbacks I'll never read again
Arranged and rearranged corresponding
To forgotten recesses in my brain
I just might need to access someday
Holding their spines in my palm
To get the paternal feeling that I own them
Like the slender neck of an electric guitar
Before you bring it crashing down upon the amplifier

Books and records have copyrights and
Authors have the right to collect royalties
Until they die or outlive their usefulness
But I can't own the ones and zeros that
Comprise the books upon my shelves unless
I painstakingly scan each page myself
(as Iíve already attempted for the cassettes and vinyl)
Or buy them back from their new digital owners
And make these paperbacks my backups

The Yardbirds owned everyone in the room
As they rocked and screeched to a crescendo
That could only end smashed to bits on the stage
For the fans to descend on dragging by the neck
Clawing the body dangling from the strings
Up from the bowels of the club into the streetlight
To be dropped indifferently into the gutter
When they ran on to the next great thing
Tangled on the roadside like a broken cassette
Lost, but I have the DVD and hopefully
It will soon be available for streaming

© 2014 Jim Ramsay, all rights reserved.