Sometimes when you are really, really stuck trying to write a poem, any poem, you need to just try something completely different.
While on vacation at the beach in August (one of my best writing times), I was trying to explain to my kids what dating was like before the age of cell phones, Facebook, pictures on your phone, yes, even answering machines. Remember having to decide whether to stay home just in case that person you had a crush on called you? And telling everyone in your house to STAY OFF THE PHONE!
And so RetroLove was born. I threw out all my rules of writing. No research. No multiple drafts in a sketchbook. I wrote every morning,, straight to the computer. Eight poems in two weeks. And, man, it was the most fun I have had writing in forever.
RetroLove is taking on all kinds of possibilities -- more later on that. So to whet your whistle, with a shout-out to any New Yorkers out there who will find special meaning in this one, let's take a look back.
When it spilled from the dashboard as we drove
to the shore in my yellow Oldsmobile with the top down
and then again from the dial-tuned 77WABC, transistor radio
on our blanket on the sand at Jones Beach,
we figured Cousin Brucie was sending us a sign --
and we spun that tune from the black vinyl LP
held tenderly by the edges, dropped the needle again
and again, so we could slow dance when we were together
and sigh when we were apart until the groove wore down
into a stutter skip right before the second chorus
which made it, irreplaceably, ours, and now Cousin Brucie
is pushing 80, and the tune has gone digital, its underlying
hiss erased, but still when I hear it, I wait for the stutter,
the way my heart still skips when I hear the first notes of us.
(c) Beth Feldman Brandt, 2013