Monday, March 11, 2013

The First Record I Ever Bought

September 28, 1973,
a day after my 10th birthday,
I bought my first 45
for 79 cents.

It began with her
dusky whisper
against a lone piano:

“No one in the world
ever had a love
as sweet as 
my love...”

and as the song
tumbled forth,
I surrendered
to her secret confession,
dreaming that I
was the object
of her longing.

Drums slowly emerge,
a harp glissando strikes
and violins obscure
the kettle drums
masterfully laid
under this luscious,
dramatic declaration,

“We go on
hurting each other
without ever knowing 

By the middle of
the second verse,
I am swept away
by her voice
hopeful and vulnerable,

“All your life 
you could love 
only me...”

from here
the record keeps spinning,
imploring its incessant

and as the
two minutes, 45 seconds
winds down,
I go to my grave,
my love
for Karen Carpenter
forever unrequited,

and the piquant flavor,
the bittersweet yearning
that animates this
magic piece
of black vinyl,

I will try to emulate
and insert
into virtually
every poem
or song
or story
I will ever come
to write.

[Written for #OpenLinkNight at - a poetic wonderland for you!]


  1. smiles...the emulating in every poem you write...yeah...there are a few songs for me like that...i dont remember the first vinyl...the first cassette was zztop eliminator album...

    1. Thanks, my brother. The drama of this single has stayedwith me forever. I don't remember my first cassette, but my first CD was Prince and the Revolution's "Purple Rain."

  2. I can't remember what my first record was, except that it was a 45. The oldest LP that I still have is a Rita Coolidge record that I still love.

    1. I still have all my old 45s. They're little bits of my youth and I need as many of those as I can get my hands on.

  3. That sums it up...i was with my big sister listening to her 45 and Karen was there too. thank you for putting to life a historical vinyl memory. thank you

    1. Thanks, I still have many of my vinyl, but when cds came around, they mostly went to the dump. I spent hundreds of hours of my youth plugged into the stereo, the lps providing a soundtrack for my daydreams.

  4. oh wow..deeply emotional... a bit of magic in this...just a few days back, my 18 year old daughter was doing some research for school and suddenly asked..."mom, what does LP stand for..?" i was just speechless but could she know...smiles

    1. Thank you - this is the first place that I reveal my first celebrity crush - Karen Carpenter. There was something sweet and sad in that voice, and it hooked me, from then to now. Sure, but ask your daughter what does mp3 stand for?

  5. Oh yeah! I don't think anyone will someday write about the special moment when they downloaded their first mp3. Just sayin.
    The whole experience of buying, bringing home, unwrapping, playing, listening, dreaming - you name it all so well here, Mosk. Love it.

    1. Thanks, Andrew. Yes, what I miss most about lps was the grand artwork. You just stared at those covers, inserts for hours. Yes, I recall the first mp3 I downloaded from Napster was "Oops, I Did It Again," by Britney Spears, hardly a singer next to Karen C, I'd say.

  6. Anonymous2:14 PM

    You've got me wondering what the first record I ever bought was now. Karen Carpenter had a lovely voice, and she wrote beautiful lyrics too. To try and emulate her is a worthy challenge.

    1. Thanks, and yes, it's a constant chase to catch up and pay homage to my influences.

  7. I do remember Karen Carpenter, but never had any special affinity for her or her music; but it is pretty cool that you still have those special feelings for her music. I think we all liked to fantasize that our 'crushes' were singing to us. Mine was Neil Diamond....

    1. Well, thankfully Neil is still around and making great music - I just heard his latest last week and was impressed that he hasn't given up - he's doing some of his best work. Thanks.

  8. Anonymous3:58 PM

    Thank you for revealing how much Karen impacted you, then and now. I really love that, poet friend. I'm thinking the Doobie Brothers were my first album . . . :) - deb

    1. It's funny what gets to be the first in our lives. :) Thanks for your kind words.

  9. oh, the memories this evokes... I think my first single was Bobby Sherman, or David Cassidy...
    But since then I have been touched by many songs that make me feel the way you describe, love the ending!

    1. Thanks, and I never knew any of Bobby Sherman's songs until my wife turned me on to "Julie, Do Ya Love Me."

  10. Buddah, this is a beautiful write filled with the fantasy of our youth. I can't remember my first 45, now you have me thinking. Karen died much too young, what a shame.


    1. Thanks, and yes, I remember where I was when I heard the news of her passing, and a part of my youth went also.

  11. my first record was given to me by an uncle, long after CDs were the norm and shortly before digital downloads. I had recently discovered Big Band music (fell in love with Benny Goodman's Sing, Sing, Sing) and my uncle gave me a Count Basie record. granted all of that was more about the instrumentals than the voices (though there definitely are some sweet voices), but I know very well how some songs—some voices—can linger and inspire.

    1. Thanks - big band very cool (I like Benny Goodman and love Glenn Miller - Moonlight Serenade is one song that makes my heart melt.)

  12. It's a wonder, how music can affect us. You capture that so well here. It really does color one's writing, thinking, creating. I weep for those who's first impressions are from Britney Spears and her ilk. (Oh my, I sound impossibly old, 'Back in my day...' lol)

  13. Thanks, and yes we *do* sound old when we say "That's not music! That's garbage!" Britney Spears isn't as devoid of talent as are the many rappers who just talk (as opposed to sing) over someone else's (instead of their own) music tracks. That be just lazy!

  14. love the thought of that longing carrying through into everything you write... we need more of that sweetness in our lives, Mosk. :)

    1. Thanks, but I tend to see the flavor as it as bittersweet, my favorite flavor of anythang!

  15. That seems like the perfect poem to describe you! Your words are quite magical in my opinion. Lovely imagery.

  16. Bruddah, this is one of Karen's best songs. The dissonance in the phrase, "Can't We Stop"; her buttery vocals; her too-obvious fight with illness (we thought it was cancer, and we had never heard of anorexia nervosa. Ironic that, in her death, the world was educated about this disorder.

    I miss her. My favorite cut of all is her take on a standard, "I Can Dream, Can't I?" and my BFF John and I used to listen to that one cut over and over again.

    My first 45 (my sisters bought all the Beatles for me) was Bobby Darin. The A side was "Mack the Knife," but I bought it for the B side, the far superior "Beyond the Sea." His version far outshines the original by songwriter Charles Trenet.

    Two voices, still too soon. Thank you for the history of your tastes and for the way you melted the vinyl of that single into hot chocolate. Truly, one of your best, babe. Ameleh