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Sunday, May 21, 2023


Down Radio Age’s Memory Lane of Childhood 

by Dick Altman

Congress is trying to prevent the death of AM radio calling it ‘irreplaceable’ as car companies drop it from their new EV models. —Fortune, May 19, 2023

Back when it’s nothing to scoot home alone—

a mile or two from school—I leave on the run—

to hear voices live bring to life Jules Verne’s 

To the Center of the Earth—or pretend to be

Captain Nemo—in his 20,000 Leagues 

Under the Sea. Nothing but imagination—no bot—

no screen—a few vacuum tubes—to illuminate 

the colossal octopus strangling Nemo’s submarine – 

or vessel boring—like a giant screw worm—

into planet’s core.


Some days I’m Buck Rogers—Others—Flash 

Gordon dodging Ming the Merciless—rocketing 

star to star—Back on earth—I run collie Lassie 

and shepherd Rin-Tin-Tin, till my legs drop—King—

my huskie, never tires, as I play Sargeant Preston 

of the Royal Canadian Mounties.  You can almost

hear me in the street yell—“Stop—in the name

of the Queen!”—as King holds at bay one more

perp in snowy wilds.


Three o’clock in the afternoon and I turn

into sheriff Tennessee Jed, then Hopp Harrigan

piloting bombers over Germany. Back on ground,

I’m the Green Hornet, whose sting sends many

a gangster up river. Sundays see me as Nick Carter—

ace detective—followed by Lamont Cranston—

whose guise lets me know what evil lurks in hearts

of men—as I purge streets of crime—invisible—

but for my indelible shadow.


A lifetime ago—yet the characters—imbedded in

memory—enfolded in imagination—rise from the mists

as if from yesterday—I recall most  how deeply I lose

myself in the spoken word—each syllable taking 

on a life of its own—with each breath of my own—

Even beyond words—as I Toscanini—pencil in hand—

conduct  a live rehearsal of Prokofiev’s Love of Three 

Orangestheme—poundingly militaristic—to radio’s 

FBI, In Peace and War. Into which—come Thursday

nights—I again disappear.


Dick Altman writes in the high, thin, magical air of Santa Fe, NM, where, at 7,000 feet, reality and imagination often blur. He is published in Santa Fe Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, riverSedge, Fredericksburg Literary Review, Foliate Oak, Blue Line, THE Magazine, Humana obscura, The Offbeat, Haunted Waters Press, Split Rock Review, The RavensPerch, Beyond Words, The New Verse News, Sky Island Journal, and others here and abroad. A poetry winner of Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition, he has in progress two collections of some 100 published poems. His work has been selected for the forthcoming first volume of The New Mexico Anthology of Poetry to be published by the New Mexico Museum Press.