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This poem comes in pencil only

This guy popped out of nowhere after 30 or so years just when I needed him most.

pencial sharpener antique 1980s

He looks like a dapper old cat, but what you can’t see … what he’s hiding behind his back … is his secret weapon.

And exactly what I need right now.

A pencil sharpener.

It’s hard to explain exactly why I found him where I did (inside a personalized pink plastic container holding personalized pink hair ribbons), but I’m not one to question serendipity (okay, I am.)

It just so happens that I’ve been desperate for a good pencil sharpener lately.

If I had my choice, I’d get a vintage one from a 1950s midwestern schoolhouse and hammer it into my kitchen wall — BANG BANG BANG — but those guys seem to be going for big bucks on ebay and anyway I need mine to be the travelin’ type.

And this dandy cat looks ripe for travelin’, don’t you think?

He needs to fit in my handbag, the one holding a heavy spiral bound notebook with a hard cover decorated in mandalas.

I’m writing more by hand these days, you see.  Not because I want to. (Frankly, I prefer the feel of a circa 2005 keyboard against my rapidly tap tap tapping fingers. I also covet the ability to quickly delete the last thought I just had. See? I just deleted a thought you will never know.)

But because  I’ve accidentally become a poet: a compulsive stringer together of words. And poets (potentially the most compulsive artists of all) need at their side a means to satisfy their urges.

A computer won’t do. One needs to get down words with haste.

A smartphone won’t either. My thumbs are too thick, too clumsy. “Bogus” accidentally becomes “booger.”

If only I had a secretary by my side. … the cat would surely do if only he was alive.

“Please, kind sir, take down this line,” I might say to the cat if only he could lift his  hand away from his orange man purse and take dictation. “No, strike that! Change compulsive to inveterate.”

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