Smith Corona Fugue

smith-coronaI recognise you.
Beetle black carapace,
A ribbed kist of coated ply with a
Fist moulded leather handle.

Wood, rubber, and steel
Are your principle materials.
They are hard and not ductile.
Your construction predates plastic,
Although your manufacture does not.

Your smell is old too, but intoxicating.
A heady brew,
Both bitter and sweet,
The oil and ink and sweat
Of portable print.

Somewhere there is half of a memory:
The distant machine-gun staccato
Of gattling work on the dining-room table.
Do not, oh, do not disturb.
is being forged.

My carriage return is a mere
ASCII-13 broken-arrow icon tap.
Yours is a rip-torn ting of theatrical leverage,
Gestured left-to-right with force and speed.
Your scroll is savage and manual,
Like an ancient rack,
It clicks and ratchets
With vertical intent.

Text torn into paper,
Impressed gullies in ink-soaked fabric,
Squeezed meaning from finger to fibre.
You are Courier.  Not a letter type, but
The Carrier of Messages, a Mercury,
But with cojones of cold metal press.

Shift feels the carriage weight
As it lifts an imperial inch,
To State In Full Capitols
What Matters Most,
And the lock clicks down to bind
You there, Heightened,
Until Freed By
The Flick
Of lower case

Impregnated ribbon,
Seamed scarlet and black,
Along a twisting nylon length,
Is tugged and crushed and
Reels at every character.
An impatient hazard when letters jam
In a confusion of physical
Dyslexia, digits tripping over
Thought. Ink slicked fingers
A mess of stifled urgency.

Day and night,
Copy frontstruck from you.
Cases sometimes word-bound,
Never quite in silence broken.
Parcelled rogues of truth,
Hammered into tersely tensioned
Deadkey. Backspace.
For all the tenses past imperfect,
Tangled words were lying tied unspoken.
Left of M, right of I,
You never did let slip,
The things you feared the most.

About stevedsmart

Steve Smart is a poet and visual artist who also has experience in information design. View all posts by stevedsmart

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