For Eardrum

First hold the needle
     like a lover’s hand
Lower it slowly
     let it tongue
     the record’s ear
Then cultivate
     the sweet beats
     blooming in the valley
     of the groove
Laugh at folks
     that make requests
What chef would let
     the diners determine
Which entrees
     make up the menu?
Young boys
     think it’s about
     flashy flicks
     of the wrist
But it’s about filling the floor
     with the manic
     language of dance
About knowing the beat
     of every record
     like a mama knows
     her child’s cries
Nobody cares
     how fast you scratch
Cuz it ain’t about
     soothing any itch
It’s about how many hairstyles
     are still standing
At the end of the night.

Note to Poetry Out Loud students: This poem begins with an epigraph that must be recited. Omitting the epigraph will affect your accuracy score.

What People are Saying

"What really makes a poem dynamic is not the use of grand gestures. Rather, it is the tones and expressions of the voice that help listeners connect and understand the meaning of a poem."
Angelica Sterling
2017 USVI POL Champ