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Allan Ginsberg's typewriter
by Jim Bennett

I bought
Allan Ginsberg's portable
Olivetti typewriter
from a pawnshop in Liverpool
where he had left it

on an Autumn day in 1965
(I had to pay a bit extra for it
because it had his initials,
along with others,
scraped into the paint on the base)

he had used it

to get a ticket to somewhere
where people wanted to listen
but never come back.

it's a funny thing
old fashioned and stiff keyed
needing Allan Ginsberg fingers to caress
the naked bone of the key top
and always typing in his voice

first I wrote a poem to my mom
but it turned in to a familiar poem
about someplace I had never been
then I tried again
it wrote a song to Father Death
and every time I tried to write
it wrote as he had done
until Howl was written
twenty times

I soon realised that it would only work for him
so I scraped my initials onto the base
and pawned it
I made sure I never went back
so unless anyone bought it
it is probably still there
looking out onto the world
through the pawnshop window
looking old now

with the money I paid the deposit
on a new typewriter

and a pair of scissors



Typewriter can be found in "The Man Who Tried to Hug Clouds" by Jim Bennett - Bluechrome 2004

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