Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Variations on a fragment of Archilochus

ἐν δορὶ μέν μοι μᾶζα μεμαγμένη, ἐν δορὶ δ' οἶνος
     Ἰσμαρικός, πίνω δ' ἐν δορὶ κεκλιμένος.

In my spear there is baked bread, in my spear there is wine
    from Ismaros, and leaning on my spear I drink.

On my computer, there are mp3s
    of lectures from four years of college;
the major Mozart violin sonatas
    with piano parts in PDF;
JPEGs of the backyard of my parents
    in six successive snowy winters.
On my laptop, there is a hoard of JSTOR
    articles I'll never read,
as well as scans of Foucault's major works
    and Illusions perdues in French.
My fourth-grade essay on Charles Lindbergh's life
    in old .doc format sits subfoldered, as does
a self-instruction manual for Gregg shorthand
    and Bessie Smith singing "That Evening Sun."
I swear that there is no pornography
    (but you probably don't believe me).
On my laptop, there's the worst thing I ever wrote
    and the best thing I ever wrote,
the things I wanted to save and the things I wanted
    to lose, the things that I no longer
need, but which would take much longer
    to delete than keep. (In my laptop,
there are crumbs of cookies I ate while typing,
    and other things that are hard to admit.)
Bank statements, too. I zip it up in a sleeve
    and carry it from place to place. 

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