never trust a man with a typewriter between his lips

July 31, 2010

Images from the Special Collections of the University of British Columbia.


 I only met you yesterday, uncle                                   
 though you did not meet me
 as I poured through the endless papers
 sitting in cartons
 organized artificially
 by a librarian named Cynthia.
 Yellowed and creased I hear your words
 spoken through the typewriter between your lips,                  
 set within your bearded face, 
 injected between the lines by your bobbing blue fountain pen
 floating on the paper and the words and the ideas
 marking measuredly, unsatisfied.

 We shared an original thought about the endless tombstone
 fields marching forth to the factory that can only be glimpsed
 from the LIE as one is lured into the city by the other
 stone monuments that stick out of the ground in planned, regular rows
 while ascending the hill, Manhattanbound.

 I see the reflections of my father's signature in yours,
 hear my grandmother's voice in the recordings of your readings
 echoing through the tapes that have been sitting in the stacks
 for me to request them
 for 34 for years.
 Your deep tone and hearty laugh and throaty cough
 sound so familiar, at yet so foreign
 as I record them on my laptop, 
 piped in from a reel-to-reel player that was dusted off upon my request.
 It brags in an unmistakably 70s font of playing in stereo!
 Your voice is in mono.
 Nonetheless it reaches my ears and I can see you
 sitting behind your desk or rocking on a cool leather chair
 with a tremendous microphone, stroking your beard and inspecting
 the world in your own way and your own time.
 I miss you uncle, though I only met you yesterday, as
 I sorted through the papers you left when you left.

July 31, 2010

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