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

poetry feature image

January 2021 Poetry Feature: Bruce Bond

BRUCE BOND
I was just another creature crawling from the mausoleum, / and I thought, so this is it, the place in the final chapter / where I am judged for all my cruelties, blunders, failures of attention, / and I waited for the furies to take me, or some such host. / But it was just another morning.

Sky full of comets

Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia

MARIANGELA GUALTIERI
And he soars / saved, outstretched / untouched by the gravity that pins us / down / we deserters of empty spaces and heights / shadows cast / into modest taverns for a bite. / Heads in capitals / of rust. / A lifetime annuity of darkness. / Only a cry can save us now.

poetry feature image

December 2020 Poetry Feature: Denise Duhamel and Jeffrey Harrison

DENISE DUHAMEL
Where was I / when I was 20? I’d already been accepted / as an exchange student, taking my first plane ride / to London where I’d catch a train / to Wales. On that first flight, I sat next to a woman / in a shawl—how old was she? It’s hard to say.