By Ace Boggess
My Father’s Music: Mixtape
Dual cassette with dubbing feature:
a modern mystery to him, a found key
minus corresponding door that he might open.
One of his fishing buddies—a man
so slender & dirt-stained no one
would look at him & think him master
of technology—owned the first,
sold mixtapes for twenty dollars.
He had a list naming any song my father wanted.
from the 70s & back: “Everyday” by Buddy Holly,
Dylan, Beatles, Beach Boys, Drifters,
Jan & Dean with “Dead Man’s Curve.”
Dad bought a mixtape every other week,
collecting classics he grew up with,
songs he heard in the Service,
others that helped him recall his wedding &
divorce. He might have stayed married
had he shown my mother such excitement:
the careful choosing, lining up, listening.
No man who loves music is bad at heart,
whether the ballads of whiny Hank
or high-pitched Frankie Valli,
some James Brown, a lot more CCR—
all stirred up in a hunter’s stew,
a gumbo of noise that kept him fed,
then made him hungrier still.
Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His novel, A Song without a Melody, is forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.