Keyboards are handy things. Even with numerous typos, the product of the keyboard tends to be far more readable than my lettering. But I think it diminishes my imagination. All those square letters are like little boxes for tiny thoughts. My lettering tends to sprawl and veer, like wind blowing through the empty space of my head. It makes sounds and leaves a trace that the click of the keyboard never can. I do miss the paper, but then I'm lazy— have always been lazy— about writing, and surely wouldn't get much done without this machine to goad me and make it easier. I get little done even with it.
Tonight for example, I've kept getting in my own way. My fingers get in each other's way, my thoughts get in my fingers' way, my fingers get in my thoughts' way, and my ears and nose and eyes keep wandering off on their own— there seems to be no cure for it. I'm scattered about, and the little square letters I make have none of that in them. I remember appearing as by magic on a plain white sheet slowly filling with scrawls, and I thought that sometimes, in some vague, distorted way, I came to appear on that sheet and recognized myself. I was always astonished to see myself there. Maybe I'm somewhere in these little square letters made of an absence of brightness, but damned if I can tell where.
by Carl Phillips
The latest once-more-with-feeling-please
manifestation of letting go, cadence of wings
folding, unfolding, nights at the pier, nights
beneath it, boat-rower, finder of lost things,
bodies at sea, the body as itself a sea,
crossed wherever crossable, makes me feel
so much better about my self makes me
feel good, as by arrangement, as of arms
and legs, as for an altarpiece in the sand,
ritual resting as much in the details, careful,
easy, as in what we make of them, the eye, if
faltering, not failing quite, X for speak no more,
for love also, also his mark, you'll forget me
only when I say you can, a rosewater X at
each wrist in the style of rope-work, restraint,
release from it, slavery is dead, everyone
saying so, singing it, believing it, let them –
a lovely rumor. Then summer was over.