Woman Sitting at the Machine, Thinking, an excerpt

each morning:

fresh thermos of coffee at hand, for the slowing down, shift
gears, unscrew the lid of the orange thermos, pour out a whiff
of home, morning paper, early light.a tangible pleasure
against the unlively words.

funny though.this set of codes slips through my hands, a loose
grid of shadows with big gaps my own thoughts sneak through . . .

call format oh five.REPORTS, disc 2, quad left
return.name of town, address, zip.quad left
return.rollalong and there you are.
done with this one.start the next.

call format oh five.my day so silent yet taken up with words.
floating through the currents and cords of my wrists
into the screen and drifting to land, beached polliwogs
all this language handled yet the room is so silent.
everyone absorbed in feeding words through the machine.

enter file execute.

call file oceana.name of town, Pacifica, name of street, Arbor.
thinking about lovemaking last night, how it's another land,
another set of sounds, the surface of the water, submerged,
then floating free, the fabric of motion and touch
knit with listening and humming and soaring.
never a clear separation of power because it is both our power
at once.hers to speak deep in her body and voice to her own
rhythms.mine to ride those rhythms out and my own,
and call them out even more.a speaking together from body
to mouth to voice.

replace file oceana . . . . . . call file island.

scrollup------------------------------------------scroll down.

what is there to justify?

the words gliding on the screen like the seal at the aquarium,
funny whiskers, old man seal, zooming by upside down
smirking at the crowd, mocking us
and his friends the dolphins, each sharp black and cream marking
streamlined in the water.

huh.ugh, they want this over and over.
M A Y1M A Y1M A Y1M A Y1M A Y1enough?
M A Y1M A Y1

Rivera's mural--the women, rows of them,
similar, yet each unique, their hands
the focus of the art
bodies solid, leaning forward, these women
facing the voices, knowledge running through them.

language the most basic of industry
to gather our food
to record exchange
to give warning and call for help
to praise courage
it flows through our hands and into metal
they think it doesn't touch us.

a typesetter changes man to person
will they catch her?
she files one job under union,
another under lagoon
another under cash.

what if you could send anything in and call it out again?
I file jobs under words I like--red, buzz, fury
search for tiger, execute
the words stream up the screen till tiger trips the halt
search for seal, search for strike
search for the names of women.

we could circle our words around the world
like dolphins streaking through water their radar
if the screens were really in the hands of experts, us.
think of it--our ideas whipping through the air
everything stored in an eyeflash
our whole history, ready and waiting.


Karen Brodine

read the author's bio and dedication

go to Line Corrections Interview with Leola S. Typesetter: Karen B.

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