Remember the Typewriter

By DAVID LEHMAN

Remember rotary phones?
What did we do back then
if we didn’t have a phone
and had to walk a mile
to get to the bus stop?
Remember telephone booths?
Remember when the question was
how many college kids can fit into one telephone booth?

Let’s say I wanted to get a message to you.
Do you remember what we used to do?

Remember the typewriter.
Remember the haiku
on the wine-stained menu.
Remember the answering machine.

We said goodbye
under the clock where we kissed
at the train station
and that was how everyone knew
that I was going to die
in Anzio or Monte Cassino,
I, the American, a veteran amnesiac
who tells stories backwards because
he doesn’t know much about history.

Remember the telegram,
the last unfiltered Camel at the station.
Remember the typewriter.
Remember the Maine?
Remember the Alamo?
Remember Pearl Harbor?
Remember the radio?

And I had never seen you unclothed
before the night before the day before
There was a knock on the door—
The cops burst in—
There was a dead man on the floor—
and you stood there looking guilty as sin—

But I threw away the script
I spoke from the heart
For love was everything
Love was meat and drink to us
And love was only nature’s art,
Remember?

 

David Lehman, editor ofThe Best American Poetry series, has recently published a new collection of poems, Yeshiva Boys.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 05 here]

Remember the Typewriter

Related Posts

headshot of Elvira Hernandez

Translation: Poems by Elvira Hernández

ELVIRA HERNÁNDEZ
nowhere / anywhere / would poets meet dressed as beacons / if their mirrors were not fogged / if their mirrors were not fogged / they would have seen the mandorla set sail / perhaps at this hour they are filing claims /to recover their lost luggage / agreed: that’s not the teide

blackbird upon a puddle

Translation: Poetry by Esther Ramón

ESTHER RAMÓN
Two of those brief animals / that populated the branches / and the furniture made useless / by humidity and neglect. / They were separated / From time that burns as it passes, / from this insignificance, / from the feeding cycle, / my desires in the shredded remains

Mogadishu: a man holds an assault rifle while people walk by, with a crumbling building in the background

November 2021 Poetry Feature

ALDO AMPARÁN
Nights alone I tread / I drag the cloak // through the mud of the old  / municipal gardens / ancient heirloom my family’s ghosts // exhale / between its woven thread / of silk & cotton / some old // cousin too distant / to have known me // in his life speaks / broken Spanish...