Wednesday, April 27, 2011


(based on suggestions from @timsterne, @pinknantucket, @notcharming, @slimejam, @dogpossum, @realnixwilliams, @marklawrence, @_camer0n)

Hermes 3000 inherited from a racehorse

named “Light Fingers”, he bought that

light green machine by a nose.

Might have been lost to hard rubbish

instead it was won from mum and adored.

My own fingers small, tipped in bandaids

apostles to the apostrophe

so they weren't cut like keys.

Not quite old enough

to be eight.

Apple IIE wanted to know where

Carmen Sandiego was.

CrimeNet insisted flags of

Reykjavik, Kigali and Bamako.

were playground life skills.

Broderbund crowns made space

for my big head, covert

covertext like Leia’s holograms.

Could’ve hidden behind my age

at thirteen.

Brother AX-10 sold

to Brethren girls en masse.

Long hair, long skirts, they had

purpose for electric typewriters.

Headbands thrilled back

interrobangs and questioned the end

of uni holidays. Their clothes were

my clothes, sorted and recycled.

“You’re all there to study, aren’t you?”

Nineteen in college I lied

said yes.

Thinkpad wasn’t really for keeps.

“Borrowed” on permanent basis

like a stenographed cup of sugar

Never really going to give back.

“portable”, “lightweight”, “mine”:

end ambivalent airquotes.

Bluescreen mid-diploma.

Work all day, evening class, weekend

assignment, sleepwalk at twilight.

Swapped all time for a library

at twenty-six.

iPhone 3 fused to my hand.

Every bar and café with ready

power point mapped

in my head. Charger carried long

wind it down to ‘dismiss’ twice a day.

No sharp keys to slip between

no small ding, no red ribbon lifting

the carriage. No holes pepper the page

where ‘o’ punches too hard.

Thirty years old I miss

my green typewriter.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from

  • @timsterne: "holograms"
  • @notcharming: "interrobang"
  • @pinknantucket: "Superceded technology - the typewriter, the reel-to-reel, the minidisc..."
  • @slimejam: "Making space. Hard rubbish."
  • @dogposssum: “end of a holiday?”
  • @realnixwilliams: “sorting out what you’re able to recycle?”
  • @marklawrence: “ ‘borrowing’ a cup of sugar from a neighbour. As if we’re ever going to give it back. And how come we don’t do it any more?”
  • @_camer0n: “apostrophe apostles, air-quote ambivalence (Chapter 8)”

I learned to touch-type before I learned to write, mainly because I was too impatient and wanted to write stories NOW. So Mum taught me. She had a green Hermes typewriter that was bought for her in 1966 when my grandfather had a win on a horse appropriately named 'Light Fingers'. My fingers were small enough that they slipped between the keys and got little cuts on them, so I was often bandaided up in advance, ready to type.

Sliding my fingers around on the screen of the iPhone I have now made me remember that typewriter, and all the writing-machines I've battled in between. I kind of miss their familiar noise, eccentricity and tactile nature. I even miss the bandaids.


mademoiselle délicieuse said...

I know I've told you before that I learnt to type on a manual typewriter as well, and recently I shared the story with my husband whilst we were watching an episode of "I Love Lucy". I was 9, but I also recall my fingers slipping between the keys - only my pinkies though, so I started typing with the remaining 3 on each hand instead.

Anna said...

You gotta type with whatever you got.

Cameron Mann said...

"...the worst thing you can imagine: an adolescent with a typewriter"

Sir Terry Pratchett, All In The Mind (30/April/2011)

Anna said...

Heh. Sounds about right.