JR Turek


      for Gary

It doesn’t matter what month is was

what day of the week, time of day

just that the miracle of that day

will remain with me forever.

You were a welcome visitor

there to wade through several lifetimes

of memorabilia, searching for treasures

amidst the clutter of collections.

We were in the basement, you moved

some this and that and there, tucked

against the wall, my dad’s Victrola,

a flat-top wood cabinet there for ages.


You brushed away generations of cobwebs,

pulled the cabinet out and flipped the top up,

that moment time stopped.  You blew away

layers of dust, we coughed in syncopated gasps.

On a gold plate, Victor, and the trademark dog

listening beside the horn, 1922 and the rest

swayed in my bleary eyes.

I watched as you tinkered, tested, and finally

inserted the crank and wound it, slowly.  Gasp,

the turntable turned, you gently swiveled

the needle, and it became that moment.

Al Jolson sang, tinny and wobbly, Al Jolson

crooned so sweet, my tears flowed in streams,

my dad hummed along from heaven, you

stood, asking if you could hug me.

My arms opened, my heart leaking onto

your shoulder, that moment, that miracle

returns to me unbidden and so welcome

these many months later and will eternally.

My dad gone ten years, that Victrola hadn’t

played for ages before then but how he loved

that player.  No question of me keeping it, you

bought it, but it’s still with me, like my dad, and

always will be.  Thank you, Gary, for that day

that, like the Victrola, plays on and on…

 J  R TUREK is WWBA LI Poet of the Year 2019; Superintendent of Poetry,LI Fair; author of 5 poetry collections; editor, workshop leader, collector of dogs and poems.