The vinyl is spinning, the needle grooving over bumps and scratches; Carole King is feeling the earth move under her feet; the sky is tumbling down.  Kris Kristofferson, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, the Boss all have risen up from their long sleep in our attic.  After 25 years in their jackets, Joni and Janis and Elton John are undressing their young voices again while I dance around the ritual shrine – a new wooden-lidded record player cranking out memories.  Side by side with these classics are crisp squares of another kind:  Van Cliburn rubbing up against Van Morrison, Horowitz to Jackson Browne, Mozart’s symphonies moving in on Rubber Soul.  My father’s top-notch record collection, passed down fifteen years ago with the rise of CD’s, is now warming up its fingers and string sections on bright yellow Deutsche Grammophon labels.   With each playing, I feel myself back in the gold sofa of childhood, a refined passion in the air; the click and drop of record after record, keeping the night alive.

There is a precise stylus, I imagine, which cuts every moment of life into memory’s wide, black circle.  I label them and stash them in my attic and sometimes don’t even remember how to release their music anymore.  But all it takes is a needle, sharp and clear, to sink into grooves I thought I had flattened with time and neglect.  The right needle  makes memories rise again, and live, like the strains of a song you once knew by heart.  Grief is my needle.   It awakens music from the bottomless heart.  It is loosening voices I haven’t heard in 40 years.  It is spinning them around and around and around, as I feel the earth move under my feet; as the sky comes tumbling down.                                                      


~ by Stephanie on 02/01/2010.

One Response to “Adagio.Legato.Scherzo.”

  1. Only recently, I listened to old “long-playing” records and even some 8-track tapes, so I relate to this vividly and it evokes aching responses beyond the realm of words, dear Susan. Thank you for sharing so beautifully.

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