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.