Saturday, May 31, 2008

Out of Ink

My pen slides along each page,
lifting at the end of each word,
but only sometimes between the letters,
leaving meaning to slip in and out of ink.

I stop briefly to read my writing
with loops and scribbles twisting
in hieroglyphic alphabet. Maybe
I’ll decipher what I meant later.

Elementary school taught me
to write in print and then in cursive,
languages in casual and formal wear.
Now my hand writes a messy combination

that spills out left-brained stigmata
through my pen perched between my fingers
at the point of the page that unites
white, lined paper with an inky rolling ball.

I remember desktops with sketches engraved
deep in their wood which sometimes
possessed my writing when the paper
overlapped against the creviced surface,

when I was given handwriting assignments
with letters to trace like connect-the-dots
on wide-ruled paper. The grooves
worked in opposition to the tracing lines.

I entered high school in 2001,
a small private academy in a small,
private town, where the teachers
loved the way I looped my l’s.

Maybe no one invented cursive writing
but I’ve always felt that whoever may have
would hate the irreverent way I mix
the conventions that distinguish it from print.

Or perhaps they would praise the way
I refuse to segregate, separate
my scripts, like I’m making advances
in civil handwriting rights,

where all letters are created equal.
The ideas are represented by an
objective race, regardless of appearance,
with readers discerning what is meant

solely by the combinations and construction.
My hand is always writing in curves,
layers that lean to the right of the page,
making script and stories out of ink.


KateGladstone said...

As a handwriting teacher, I LOVE your poem! (It might surprise you to know how many handwriting teacher these days, myself included, advocate perfecting what looks like a "mix" of print & cursive.)
On this theme of mixing print and cursive, may I ask you to visit the "Writing Rebels" page of my web-site (which covers this same subject)? /WritingRebels.html or go to http"// and navigate to the "writing rebels" entry in the navigation box. If you like what you see there, will you give me permission to add to my "Writing Rebels" page a link to your poem about handwriting?

fsprinkle said...

This reminds me so much of my school experience. First we printed, then cursive, then they didn't care. It was all so confusing. Thanks for capturing all that mess so beautifully. I love the bit about "equal rights"

Lisa said...

i want to read this written by your hand...
the type robs me of the entire experience, i feel...

i like it, dave.