Columbia Record and Tape

Courtesy: Rosemary Donahue

Courtesy: Rosemary Donahue

All that music for a penny made me greedy,
made me believe Terre Haute, Indiana must
be an entertainment mecca, music flowing
everywhere—every street corner and alley,

hot tub and day care center, this Club
a lot more hip than the Book-of-the-Month Club,
more fun than the fake leather tomes
and busted collector plates my father bought

from Franklin Mint. Never thought to call up
the Club, demand they take back what
I wasn’t swift enough to reject, though now
a friend tells me he worked there during

college, fielded call after call from unhappy
music lovers, angry people who got Mandrill
when they wanted Mozart, REO when
they wanted Rachmaninoff. The Club

made you declare your musical allegiance,
though you could order from any category,
tried to make you define what you wanted
while tempting you with everything you

ever might have wanted—bargain-bin
dwellers going going gone,  music-by-mail-
order somehow sweeter when I’d spend
hours on my bed, twirling the pages

of their slick catalog, peering at
shrunken photos of singers in fetching
‘80s finery, pen circling and circling,
taking a chance on some group I’d never

heard before, obsessions begun in the heat
of my slovenly teenage bedroom,
all the hooks I ever wanted to hold
coming straight out of Terre Haute.