Typewriters

Then, as I’m supposed to be writing this word poem (as mentioned in previous post), this idea pops out of nowhere and I’m going with it, and out pops this commentary on the digital age through my typewriters! And I really want to submit this for workshop, but it doesn’t use any of the words. Darn. So I don’t know what I’m going to do. Sigh. Here’s…

Typewriters

Curled up in my armchair, I try

to find words. Instead, endless

distractions parade across

the muted screen of my laptop

Music, news articles, chatting

with friends, a million and one ways

to put off shaping the words

that are truly important.

I want a working typewriter,

a straight up, no-nonsense word processor

that won’t play bootlegged reruns

of Friends. There’d be no options for

size or font, and no distractions

save the clickety-clack of inked

keys on the ribbon and the zing

as the lever’s pushed back.

A great, cast iron behemoth

lives in my room, found in the barn

behind an old antique store. It

no longer moves the way it ought, keys

sticking, no ink to be had. But

something in the aged, black Royal

reaches out at me. It will run

someday, soon, when I find the skills

or the parts to fix this ancient

hunk of metal. It lasted through

the roaring twenties and the Great

Depression that followed: I doubt

it minds a few more broken months.

There is another, a later

version unearthed from a yard sale,

made of the same awkward, taupe plastic

of the earliest computers.

Also a Royal, this one produced

Half a century after

my lovely black goliath. This

one is clearly a machine, while

the coal black metal giant

recalls a less mechanical age,

that forgotten era that lacked

cellular phones and touch screens.

The days of my old Royal were

more genuine, less synthetic

and fabricated than this digital

age of a thousand diversions.

I’d like to go back to writing

on a simple typewriter, one

that processes words and nothing else.

I could just type. I think I’d like that.

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