Life in the Archives 1978

by on August 11, 2019 :: 0 comments

Inside the darkened storefront that would soon be
a bright Asian restaurant, fading album covers
from just ten years ago armored the wall,
protecting clerk and customers from the revolution
outside, jazz in the doorways on Mass Ave.,
and soft rock in the offices upstairs.

Customers’ blind fingers searched
through the dollar bin
as their eyes heard the songs
on each album. I don’t remember
what played up in the front.
I didn’t know those songs yet.

I do remember stopping in these archives
that used to pop up all around the city.
I remember paying a quarter for one LP
I played for years.

Later after moving to Indiana,
I found the college town’s archives,
a building adorned with primitive paintings
of dead rock and pop stars,
some of whom would never have been
honored in the archives back in 1978,
some of whom had been kids my age.

By then, the archives on Mass Ave.
had become a bank with Boston ferns,
plants and children’s pictures on every desk.
I don’t remember what I listened to
on my first visit, but I remember
what I had heard at lunch
at the grill near the med school:
The Talking Heads’ “Take Me to the River,”
a crack in the archives’ façade.

editors note:

Searching the stacks for proof that what we were makes who we are. – mh clay

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