I found one the other day, while I was emptying boxes, that an old girlfriend had made for me in the 90s. I couldn’t play it, of course, as I don’t have a tape deck anymore. Or a record player. Or a CD player. In fact, I don’t ‘physically’ own any music. It’s all in the ether. Intangible. Owned by Apple, Spotify, Youtube or some other super corporation.
It got me thinking about how I would go about making one now, if I felt the urge to translate my love through the medium of music to my new-found paramour.
So I wrote a poem about it. As you do.
Then I had an epiphany!
Why not go ahead and actually make the mix tape as part of the poem.
For ‘mix tape’, I mean playlist, obviously. So, here you are.
(The link to the playlist is at the end.)
By David Milligan-Croft
Don’t talk to me about love;
I was making mix tapes before you were born.
Speaking of which, just how old are you?
I may look old, but inside, I feel 33 1/3.
It was easier to record from vinyl.
That way you could avoid abrupt endings.
Fade in, fade out, like a Grandmaster Flash.
If you were slick, you might include excerpts
Of dialogue from old movies,
Or from great speeches like- ‘I have a dream!’
…That one day you’ll kiss me!
(Not sure that’s what MLK had in mind.)
Recording off the radio was an art form.
You’d need the dexterity of a nuclear fission scientist
And a Watergate wiretapper to operate
Play, pause and record simultaneously,
Before some schmaltzy DJ chimed in with his drivel.
And if your tape got chewed up
From too much stopping and starting,
You’d have to pull it all out until you found the kinks,
Straighten it, then stick a pencil in the spool
And rewind it all back in again.
Praying it doesn’t happen while she’s listening to
Je t’aime moi non plus.
I hope you like it.
It took me a whole weekend to put together.
Quite good fun though. Reminiscing, and all that.
I imagine you listening to it in your bedroom.
Lying on your bed, looking up at the ceiling.
Your long, velvet hair cascading over the pillow,
Thinking of me, thinking of you.
Except we’re not Gainsbourg and Birkin.
The lyrics say things I never could,
Would or should. And are more self-indulgent
Than a box of Thorntons. But what can I do?
I’m just a 20th Century Boy in love with a 21st century girl.
I’ve been a busy little bee of late publishing my first novel, Love is Blood.
Well, I’ve now also published my first collection of poetry, called Let me fail in Sunshine. It’s split into three sections covering childhood, nature and love.
When I first began writing poetry in my teens, I tried to write how I thought poetry should be written – T.S. Eliot, Wordsworth, etc, like I’d learned at school. This was unnatural and forced. (Not to mention, crap.)
It was only years later, after discovering the works of Raymond Carver and Charles Bukowski, that I realised it was okay to be me. Not to try and be someone I’m not.
So, I found my voice.
It wasn’t long after, that my work started getting published in poetry journals, periodicals, websites and anthologies. Many of the poems featured in this collection have been published in the U.S., Britain and Ireland.
Some of them are humorous, some are heartbreaking, while others will fill you with joy.
There are a couple of sample poems under the image of the front cover. I hope you like them. And, if you do, maybe you would be so kind as to pop over to Amazon and buy a copy of it please? (Just click on the cover image and it will take you through to Amazon.)
Holes appear in wardrobes,
Cupboards stare agape.
Delft wrapped in newsprint,
Boxes packed and taped.
The sunsets and the generations
The days and none was first.
The freshness of water in Adam’s
Throat. Orderly paradise.
The eye deciphering the darkness.
The love of wolves at dawn.
The word. The hexameter. The mirror.
The Tower of Babel and pride.
The moon which the Chaldeans gazed at.
The uncountable sands of the Ganges.
Chuang Tzu and the butterfly that dreams him.
The golden apples on the islands.
The steps in the wandering labyrinth.
Penelope’s infinite tapestry.
The circular time of the Stoics.
The coin in the mouth of the dead man.
The sword’s weight on the scale.
Each drop of water in the water clock.
The eagles, the memorable days, the legions.
Caesar on the morning of Pharsalus.
The shadow of crosses over the earth.
The chess and algebra of the Persians.
The footprints of long migration.
The sword’s conquest of kingdom’s.
The relentless compass. The open sea.
The clock echoing in the memory.
The king executed by the ax.
The incalculable dust that was armies.
The voice of the nightingale in Denmark.
The calligrapher’s meticulous line.
The suicide’s face in the mirror.
The gambler’s card. Greedy gold.
The forms of a cloud in the desert.
Every arabesque in the kaleidoscope.
Each regret and each tear.
All those things were made perfectly clear
So our hands could meet.