Bargain Shopping at the DI

Written by  Joel Long



Leaving unremarkable glassware

at the thrift store, I venture inevitably

to the electronics, sold “as is” which makes

me mistrust electronics with their cord

bundles, electrical outlets for testing. 

Do they work?  No they do not. 


Here are twin speakers from Judy’s computer,

the wall of sound Sony speakers, too big

with too little sound.  There is an AM/FM

receiver that I plug in, not knowing

whether speakers make no sound,

or the amplifier fails to amplify. 


There is a boom box—a boom box!— a CD

player, technology that once gave us

hope, the blessing of eternal sound, clear

as truth and lasting, and they are here

their knobs and buttons, LED lights

and logos of lost potency, feeble things

in a present that brings words this close

to brittle trash.  I do not want them, do not trust


they will give me satisfaction they meant

to give when they were made, entered

our homes, let us imagine they could give,

a drum like a dwarf appearing in the room,

a voice like cream in a blue cup, guitar tin,

piano bells, music, music. I cannot buy as is,


these notes toward failure I cannot return,

untuned lute, flies in the peonies and lemons

Victrola with the wasp nest near the needle,

a spinning globe full of moths and pupae,

cassette player with its mouth agape like an O,  

a tangle of black cords and wood grain. 



Additional Info

  • Location: 131 East 700 South