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  • Reasons I Love My Typewriter

    It’s red.
    Bright fear, desire and hubris:

    The paper is its own screen.
    [ writing as analog and tactile]

    It refuses to hide my mistakes.
    [ writing as honesty, intentional or not]

    It smells like grease and archives.
    [ writing as engine of history]

    It comes with its own case. It looks like luggage
    [ writing as motion and mobility]

    It snaps and dings and when the return
    arm slides back into
    [writing as driving force]
    place the whole thing murmurs
    & shivers [& hesitant homecoming]

    The keys are strong and slightly resistant and
    to type anything you have to muster
    strength in your fingers.
    [writing as physical labor]

    It’s from the 1950s, a time when
    a black girl with a typewriter might have seemed
    anomalous, exotic, dangerous even. But [ writing as in time
    when you think about it, & out of step]
    like a pirate with a knife in his teeth,
    totally appropriate.

    It’s heavy and I think of James Baldwin
    carrying his own 20 lb [writing as commitment]
    writing machine on planes
    to Paris through Swiss mountain villages
    or back and forth on the A train
    between Harlem and Greenwich Village
    spreading cruel and necessary truths.
    [& companion]

    It’s forthright and striking and I think of
    Lorraine Hansberry sitting at her desk, [writing as a ring of fire]
    cigarette dangling from her lips, typing plays
    and essays and articles in a fever
    before she died at the age of 35.

    I never have to turn it on or off or restart it
    or put it to sleep. It’s always ready. [ ready]
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