Posts Tagged ‘typewriter’

Off topic: Descent, a poem

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

If you are, have been, or may become a Rod Serling fan, you’ll understand how I came to write this poem a few years ago while staring out the window on a long flight.


by Ed Brownson

Through acrylic
I expect to see Rod Serling sitting on wing
Legs crossed, flashing that famous half smile
A tray table in front of him fastened to nothing
Holds his ancient Underwood, the sort with
Circular keys in bleacher rows and the “W”
Improbably missing. Lack of a “W” is no
Impediment for Rod: his forefingers push
Letters onto a sheet of paper carefully
Avoiding the bare metal lurking between
The “Q” and the “E”.

Once in a while
He leans back for a frown or forward
Into a thought and I worry he’s conjuring the deep
Or bringing us down on some crepuscular
Island where deception holds court and Rod has
A lock on the rules because – no question here –
He wrote them. Then turbulence, and all of us
Who chose window over aisle press eyeballs
To plastic thinking angels or speed bumps or
Aliens at least but Rod just flashes the rest of his
Smile and shrugs.

Now the Underwood
Transforms into a flight recorder box – how in hell
Do I know what that thing is? – and unflappable
Rod starts tearing it apart. I bang on the window
Loudly objecting: dismantling a recorder while sky
Diving doesn’t seem very wise. Next, no warning
We’re inside a cloud and Rod and the tray table
And the box disappear along with the wing
As if we’d snapped tight those cheap shutters
That cover the windows. Long seconds pass by
Before we break back into blue.

Rod’s gone!
No sign of his seat on the wing, no tray, no
Recorder even the Underwood’s not to be found.
Panicked I crawl over the guy snoring next to me
Sprawl across a couple in the seats beyond the aisle
Hoping he’s only switched wings, but Rod’s not there
And I have to think hard about where else I can
Look ‘cause I really need to ask him how to write
A story with no “W’s” and while I’m at it find out
Why his skinny black necktie never once
Blew out in the wind.



I’ve published Descent with a Creative Commons license.
You can print the poem but you can’t rewrite it and  you can’t publish it without contacting me.

Creative Commons License