The music goes round & round
Spinning Wheel
Where she stops nobody knows
Mandalas pressed into discs
Or Meier or Fludd or Bruno
Human dead center in the Circle
Corresponding to the universe
The all the everything known unknown

A table, a speaker, elements of a seance

As if the records from the 20s & 30s are not authentic to our ears without scratches, clicks, thin dusty sounds, voices & music retreating into ground glass of myth memory, an assumed nostalgia for what never was in its moment of being

Our new restorative technologies can make an old shellac disc sound new, as if recorded yesterday at ECM

Listening to Louis Armstrong’s “West End Blues” from 1925 with tempo corrected (many 78s were “sped up” in the pressing process to conform to the space on the 10” platter; digitized into a spacious sonic clarity
(even a “stereo” illusion), sounding “up front” or “up close”

A revelation—the ensemble—but then I perversely wondered, since it sounded so static-of- the art, if N was really playing

Who is inside the record?
Who’s writing the poem?

CD eternity disc played by light

Needle connotations other than playback & darning lunette toward penetration of skin,
getting a “shot”
Tattoos done by needle
Larry Fagin in New York City enters his flat & says, “I need a music fix”

Connie Kay, drummer for the MJQ, uses knitting needles on the edges of drum cymbals

“Tracks” on a junkie’s arms, needless to say
How a phono cartridge tracks
To track down
Dead in his tracks
Traction, tractatus
but best of all: track record
Full circle
Enso—empty circle

The record’s over before it begins
Only the listener is present

In our lives how many revolutions per minute?

Cellophane around albums called “shrink wrap”

Race track, greyhounds chase a mechanical rabbit around & around a track in Miami

Undertones (Heaven & Hell)
Harmonia Mundi
As above, so below

Record, to keep track of

Evidence, a document of what happened
Transcript, a transcription
Trance crypt, memorial
Ghost composer’s music off the page into phantom hands
A tradition of repeating, a repertoire
Electrically caught sounds
Decoding the circle

Real? Who asked?
But reel, again the circle
Give movement to body or mind or spirit
Combined recombined
The same never the same

Hum of the receiver when the record stops

Originally Published: April 23rd, 2013

David Meltzer was born in Rochester, New York, and raised in Brooklyn. He began his literary career during the San Francisco Beat and Berkeley Renaissance period in North Beach, California, and his work was included in the anthology, The New American Poetry 1945-1960. At the age of 20 he recorded...