Typewriter Rodeo: Ode to an Austin Icon

Each week, the Standard reaches out to Austin’s Typewriter Rodeo for a custom poem on Texas topics.

By Jodi EgertonAugust 5, 2022 10:27 am, ,

John Aielli is one of those people who truly made Austin weird. He was known for his genre-defying show and meandering conversations. Aielli wasn’t just an icon of the music scene but a companion in kitchens and on commutes for decades. He died on Sunday at age 76 and was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Ode to an Austin Icon

The airwaves in Austin
are a little less
Upon the passing
Of the great John Aielli
who entertained
and okay, occasionally irked
Public radio listeners
For over half a century

How do we properly send up this morning FM maestro?
First: Find your favorite album
and play it all the way through
Or three times.

Craft yourself a playlist
that tumbles classic tunes
With wildly obscure b-sides
boisterous banjo ballads
Songs that start with the letter P
and tracks about trilobites

Go listen to the hum of clouds
Do clouds hum?
Reflect on that.

Play your favorite album once more
straight through
Modulating the base level on every bridge

Celebrate the utter originality and wonder
Of the inner workings of your mind
And that of your neighbor

And finally, enjoy a moment of silence

Because unique among those you’ll find
up and down the dial

John Aielli

never shied away

from a little


a photo of the typewritten poem on a light purple piece of paper with a rainbow running diagonally through it

typewriter rodeo logoTypewriter Rodeo airs each Friday on Texas Standard. Send us your ideas for a poem on Facebook or Twitter, or send us an email.

Typewriter Rodeo is also available anytime in podcast form.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.