Tale of the Tape

My father had a reel
To reel tape recorder
Whose reels looked like
Cartwheels moving trains
Of thought, connecting
Reel to reel, father to son
And real to real

He was proud of that
Tape recorder, state of
The art, having worked
Hard at being a janitor
To buy it

Art of the state

And my father would
Plug in the microphone,
Hit the record button
And the reels would turn,
The acetate hitting the road

And he’d ask me things
Like, what’s your name,
Where do you go to school
And how old are you?

And I’d ask him,
Don’t you know
All that?

And he’d tell me
Don’t be a smart

He would hit the
Stop button
And play it back

My voice sounded
Funny, like popcorn
Caught in mid-throat
While my father sounded
Like my father

And sometimes he would
Put on the boxing gloves
And we’d duke it out

He hit record by mistake
During one of our boxing
Sessions and it caught
Everything until the tape
Ran out

And now, some 40
Years later, I came across
That tape machine in my
Father’s garage

I slapped the tape
On and hit play

I heard it all,
The little boy I’d been
And the punches and grunts
And thuds from our boxing

I stopped the tape
Then played it in

I heard nothing but
My father’s

He said, son, I didn’t
Mean to be so rough on
You that day, but I knew
That it was going to be rough
When you got older so I wanted
You to be ready

I hit the stop

Thanks dad for
Teaching me how
To roll with the punches

© 2016 Tony Robles


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