Continuing Story.

This story is rife with death:
a dead man sings about a killer
with his dead band.
A dead store built by a dead man
sells a dying product line,
the first step in an entire industry’s
extended gasping collapse…
Everywhere: death.

In the time before iPods
before MP3s
before CDs had yet shattered the LP’s hegemony,
I used my birthday money
at Tower Records
to complete my Beatles’ collection.
The Blue Album had just recently changed my life
and I wondered what would happen
when I took the shrink wrap
off my newly-bought copy of the White Album.

I was familiar with some of the songs
on side one
but not “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill,”
a weird Lennon cut
on this weird album
where each and every Beatle
goes every which way
all on their own.

I listened.
I liked.
I had no idea what to expect
so when John sang
“so Captain Marvel shot him
right between the eyes. Zap!
All the children sing,”
I thought it strange
that it followed with
“Zap! All the children sing.”
followed with
“Zap! All the children sing”
followed with “Zap!
All the children sing.”
followed with “Zap!
All the children…”
I wondered what sort of psychedelic shit
the Beatles were up to.

It took a few more revolutions
around the disk to realize
my just-purchased classic
was actually skipping
and this was not the Beatles’ intent.
I cursed the sixties
and their experimentation
for making me doubt myself
and my ears.

It was the eighties.
I knew how to fix a skip on a record.
I listened to the track all the way through
but ever forgot the way it first sounded
to my new ears
all those years ago.
Now, the earth has circled the sun
a few dozen more times
and most of the elements have changed.
John Lennon? Murdered.
The Beatles? Aced before him.
Records live a zombie life today
and Tower Records died
after the CDs that killed them.
Hell, even the MP3s
that did the CD in
are on their last legs.
Everything dies, baby,
that’s a fact.

But music lives
and we do
and some circle games
just go on and on.

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