This morning Margaret Randall will be reading at Sunday Chatter (formerly Church of Beethoven). You can hear her read "Cursive Writing..." in person. I can almost see the audience react to this catalog of remembered artifacts and its twist at the end. The above photo is courtesy of Albuquerque the Magazine.
Margaret Randall's new book is coming out in two weeks--The Rhizome as a Field of Broken Bones (WingsPress, San Antonio). The cover was done by local artist Rini Price. Margaret just got back from reading at The International Poetry Festival of Granada, Nicaragua. "There were 160 poets from 60 different countries, and the most amazing thing was hearing so many different languages. There were readings at night with a thousand people in the audience, and sometimes we read in small villages as well."
Cursive Writing and Old Slide-Rules
One day I will walk in a graveyard
where cursive writing and old slide-rules
sleep beneath dead leaves
and rain-soaked earth.
Elaine’s chortling laugh, one phrase
from a Brandenburg concerto
that once lifted my heart
above cacophony of noise
sweeps anonymous streets, shielding
our human register from touch.
I may stop to pay tribute
to crinolines and cashmere sweater sets,
egg beaters, rotary phones, transistor
radios and old typewriters
their red and black ribbons
over moss-covered stones on misty nights.
I may recall an IBM Selectric,
the raised letters of its tired steel ball
glistening in the light of a waning moon.
The permanently signaling left arm
thrusts from the window of a 1941 Ford,
its upholstery smelling faintly
of burnt plush.
A 78 rpm record spins beneath
the diamond tip of a tiny needle
recreating Patsy Cline’s familiar sound
in my astonished ears.
Daughters of the American Revolution
refuse Constitution Hall
to Marian Anderson’s perfect voice
and Eleanor Roosevelt
makes it right by inviting her to sing
before Lincoln’s imposing figure
where 75,000—black and white—
receive her offended voice.
Weekly newsreels at the RKO, Superman
vanquishing Khrushchev, Walkmans
their ear plugs deafening an era,
The Joy of Cooking, 1st edition,
and casseroles topped with thick slices
of Velveeta cheese. Carnation corsages
dyed two-tone pink to match
a strapless prom gown lost to memory.
Where will I find one reason to nourish
the hope that tomorrow’s graveyards
may imprison darker relics, dangerous
even in their after-life:
all those advertising claims, the lies
of those we love who love us back,
our hatred of children
and this grim currency of violence?
When will we bury greed, erase our fear
of women and difference, trust ourselves,
design a final resting place
Dare I hope noise camouflaged as ideas
dogma or commanding truth
will one day fail to greet me
as I rise each morning
and make my stumbling way through
digital possibility, hold tight
to the Mohawk two-wheeler,
faint oiled skin of that first Royal portable
or your green rayon dress, Mother,
with its white rope pattern
still so comforting to my young
and trusting cheek?
Poetry submissions are welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.