nineteen seventy seven

9:25 PM


By Rudolfo Carrillo


When the spring rolled around again and we were still living in Burque, I figured I needed something to do with my time besides mooning over my lost love. She happened to be a mormon girl living on the outskirts of Gallup, New Mexico. I imagined that was a place where flocks of sheep pushed and shuddered through her front yard every morning on their way to galvanized stock tanks brimming over with uranium-laced well water.


But, hell, I knew we'd never go back there and that whatever was going to happen and whoever I was going meet would probably have to do with the new outpost. The new outpost was on the northeast edge of an expansive city and so there ought to be something to do there besides getting sentimental about another place you didn't really like to begin with, I told myself.


I spent some time wandering around the edges of the mountain that was our eastern boundary and became a young master of the desert that preceded it, calling the plants out there by name, making pets of the lizards and tarantulas that I could coax into small plastic boxes, and cataloging the eldritch sounds that emanated from the dark cloak that consumed the mesa and foothills with an acute regularity after the sun had disappeared into the west.


Well, I got bored of the tape recorder but was still fascinated with the rest of the night time - like how the stars shone in a fashion that could be described poetically as a fragile blanket woven of electric corn husks or how the city resembled a busy space station when you looked down upon it from any one of the big rocks that made any entrance into the sandias an exercise humility - and I started sitting in the backyard and listening to a battery-powered radio that my old man brought with us to Albuquerque, instead. It was from his government office and I reckon they let him take it with because it was powered by a type of battery that was no longer manufactured, and besides needed a couple of vacuum tubes to make it work.


It was easy enough to find the tubes. Heck, just about every pharmacy and hardware store in the heights had a tube tester and supply kiosk in the front of the store. So, until the battery wound down, I had a decent radio. It had FM and Shortwave bands, too. I tried out the shortwave dial and just couldn't hang. It was a bunch of folks talking, mostly.


Tuning into the FM range, contrariwise, changed me forever, and I ain't kidding or being unnecessarily hyperbolic about that fact either.


Listen: Before that object came into my possession, I mostly listened to whatever music mis padres favored. Yeah, some of it was a toda madre, too, but having access to such a device in the midst of a springtime when AOR was landing loudly and triumphantly all over the western lands, soaking the airwaves with the heavy sounds and songs whose sublime nature I could only hope to fathom, had an effect similar to what one might experience when opening the door to another universe that is all at once familiar and strange, attractive and repellent, with noise and hair and electric guitars floating around everywhere.


My favorite magically electromagnetic location was located at 92.3 megahertz and was known as KRST. In case you are interested, it's a country station now and has been for at least thirty years. Way back yonder, it was a whole different story. Maybe the evening DJ would start things off with Gong and their flying teapot. Then the dude would segue into some crazy rocanrol by a band called the Modern Lovers. A guy with a bad cough and a Taos accent might just call in to request something by Fleetwood Mac, but when Peter Green was in charge of things.


It went on and on like that through the spring and summer. By July, I had set up a sleeping bag in the grass and spent the late nights and early mornings watching earth rotate against a glorious background of shimmery stars and filling up my head with the grooviest tuneage known to humankind.


And so I forgot all about the girl back in Gallup. Forgot her name and the way her voice sounded just like a nightjar. And didn't remember at all until I started writing this here post, tonight. I think she was called Lisa or some damn thing like that. And after all of that stuff getting stirred around my head and then spilled out onto this page, I feel like totally jamming out to some kind of obscure rocanrol or another and am now inclined to do just that; I guess we will have to chat more about this local music and radio stuff next time. 


Be seeing you.


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