Collecting Dust


Garage sales, thrift shops; that

one-stop-shop in my uncle’s

basement; record

stores downtown, midtown,

another town;

old and wishful lovers—

          all giftgivers of sound

Of Amy and of Davis,

of the croons that unfurl

on Sam Cooke’s lip and of

the compliment—blessing—

that is Nina’s breath

          all the bodies in my crate


Pull body from sleeve and

body from body,

straight out the crate,

call out their names like

they raised you,

ask them to be tenants

in your home,

to adopt your dust and years

and person;

say please, say thank



This may not be what you expected:

A cat is lounging on old mags

and a box of broken 8 tracks,

coke white and purring;

the dust is thick as dirt

and the records

poorly organized but

the man here can tell you

which song

          most likely

was playing in a drop top

driving Jefferson Ave into the sun

on a summer day in ’63

          he’ll play it for you, whether you ask or don’t

he says:

what you love comes second

only to what you haven’t heard


it’s often better not to find

what you came looking for


Straight out the crate

you’ll pull a track that’s

been a hundred

tracks since, you’ll feel the

soul in each version of

itself rising to

kiss the needle, like

so many friends

greeting each other

          souls spinning like dust


Say please, say thank


these bodies are human,

with voices and memory,

body in sleeve and body

on body;

these crates

are classrooms,


living rooms…


Sometimes I take each vinyl out of their crates

just to stack them into towers

surrounding me

just to see how high they go;

          just to count my lovers

one by one and clockwise,

the city falls slowly in rhythm,

each record put under needle

for a turn;

I thank them all individually,

each hand that reaches, each body in my crate—

they all have a home here; I thank them

for paying rent,

for teaching me


for taking my dust, and years,


for making a listener out of me—

          I liken them all to Angels

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Photo by itsPortAdelaide on Unsplash

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