Joe Cottonwood

Learning to touch-type

Closing eyes, I typed blind 
whatever came to mind: 
     Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco 
and then
     National Bohemian Beer 
     we’re proud to say,
     it’s brewed on the shores 
     of the Chesapeake Bay. 
At age eleven I’d tasted neither
so I made up my own jingles 
for Buffy a cocker spaniel 
     Who knows 
     but the nose?
for my crush, neighbor Elaine 
     Eyes of amber 
     change your timbre 
which I thought were brilliant. 

The old Underwood I called Miss Understood. 
In a cranky mood her legs stuck together, 
her tongue would jam. But touch her kindly 
and  her lips would clack clack clack,
her little bell would ring 
and I would slam the carriage return.

I miss her physicality. 
I could literally work up a sweat 
as she taught poetry in her machine gun voice: 
     Make each word strike solid.
     End with a period that punches a hole, 
     clear through, to the light on the other side.

Joe Cottonwood has repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. His latest book of poetry is Random Saints.