head typist

Written by: Roy Jerden

archy - cockroach reincarnate
from a free verse poet no less
now saw life from the underside
and had to get his thoughts to press

he sneaked onto a writer's desk
at a newspaper late at night
way back in the nineteen-hundreds
it was the finest place to write

the typewriter was set to go
with a sheet all lined up nice
now he just had to find a way
to operate the damn device

unpossessed of hands or fingers
he was suddenly filled with dread
to overcome this handicap
he'd really have to use his head

archy scaled the massive framework
and dived head down with mighty force
the impact and his weight sufficed
barely to type one key of course

no way he could use the shift key
punctuation was not worthwhile
he'd have to use just lowercase
and write in e e cummings style

time and time again he nose-dived
and pounded out a line complete
and then pushed back on the carriage
until it made that ding so sweet

it seemed labor sisyphean
but at last his verse was done
and then he collapsed exhausted
just at the rising of the sun

his column made the daily paper
and many others after that
thanks to his sponsor don marquis
and friend mehitabel the cat

so if you like philosophy
and wry wit that knocks you dead
you should read the verse of archy
a poet who used his head

April 18, 2013

____________________________________
Some of my favorite books as a teenager
were the collections of Archy's articles
penned by Don Marquis from 1916-1936.
These stories were originally illustrated 
by George Herriman, the creator of Krazy Kat.

One of my favorites was "the lesson of the moth"
a nice bit of existentialism, I think...

http://donmarquis.com/literature?pp=651

See "About this poem" above the title for additional notes.