BACKSPACING

I remember 
centering a poem on a typewriter,
seated at a desk in a single room,
in a building of single rooms,
shirtless in the June Albuquerque heat,
counting the characters in each line,
dividing by two,
and backspacing.

Centering each line of 20,
conveying a narrow thought,
while my hungry life
sought to find meaning in words
that oozed from the core of my childhood
that now continues through my thirties.

No Pentium in those destitute days.
No color monitor.
No 600 dpi printout.

Only a $20 pawn shop typewriter  
cool cuz it had a correction ribbon  
enabling readable submissions.

The clacking keystrokes echoed 
though the walls and hallways
of the house of rooms,
as I discovered the mystical truths
that arise from nowhere,
that descend onto 20 lb. erasable bond,
showing you the real reasons for living:

     drinking coffee,
     learning to roll a good smoke,
     crying alone while 
     the world turns and spins 
     and others laugh.

Learning to be alone
after a life of loneliness.
The lessons then were like
early kindergarten mathematics:
at the time, 
fun in their discovery,
the lessons getting tougher later on.

I remember 
moving the carriage to center,
counting the letters,
not forgetting the spaces,
dividing,
patiently backspacing the quotient,
then carefully clacking out the line  
thinking that, 
yes,
this just may be 
the greatest poem ever written.

I remember the room.
Mine had its own sink.
The foam rubber bed.
The hum of the typewriter.
A 1/2 lb. of rice on the shelf
next to a can of Folger'sTM.

But I could write poetry,
and life was grand.
-RavenHawk


This poem arose from an online alliance with two other poets. Tim Wood, Todd Weissenberger and I each interpretted the same opening line.

Wayne's Writings