Terry Collett

Gold Star - 23,291 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

Tess's Typewriter. - Poem by Terry Collett

That year they gave Tess
her first typewriter. She'd
not need to borrow her
brother's battered old piece
or write down her fragile
poems in her spiderlike
scrawl as her father called it.

The promise came while
she was getting her mind
together in that mental
asylum, after the mucky
love affair that went no
place and left her hanging
there, like one crucified
for all to see and most
to softly mutter and stare.

Get yourself mended girl,
Father said, and we'll buy
you your own typewriter,
so you can stab away on
the keys to your heart's
content and bring out
those poems of yours.

He never read her poems,
never read much apart
from the back page sport
or gawked at page 3 girls
with a tut tutting tongue.

That year she gazed out
of the wide barred window
of the asylum at the snow
on fields, at the seagulls
gathering and feeding behind
the faraway tractor as it
ploughed, at the grey
depressing sky, wondering
what it'd be like to not be,
wondering what the woman
with a cast in her eye, was
doing to herself in the toilets,
one night when she'd gone
in to pee unable to sleep.

The typewriter idea
and promise kind of got her
through the dark hours and
the ECT, and the following day
headaches and numbness.

After slitting her wrists (mildly,
a cry for help) she said on the
phone to her father, Come get
me out of this place, help me
get back together. Ok, he said,
Miss Humpty Dumpty, and he
put down the phone, and she
stood in the hall of the asylum
with the receiver in her hand,
the image of the typewriter
before her eyes, those poems
banging on the inside of her
head, new ones wanting to
get out, old ones left for dead.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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