Six Chimps and a Typewriter

by Bill Ebert

There are those
who say six
chimps, left alone
long enough, in a room
with a typewriter
will recreate a famous
poem.  Perhaps,
but is it ever
about the bananas?

In the beginning,
Chimp One extended
a slender simian Marco Polo
finger, caressed a key,
pressed it soft as a first-time
hug.  Noted
a tight “o” appeared
on the page.  Slyly
stole first, an “x,”
and . . .

At the very same time,
Chimp Two began
pounding away, grinding
out steamy supermarket
purple prose.  Best sellers, earned
lots of bananas, left
poetry in the rearview mirror.

More chimps, more furious pounding
out flash fiction, crimies, screen
plays, musicals.  Good-bye
Chimps Six, Five, Three
and Four.
Good-bye bananas, all you
yellow persuasions, pulpy
whores.  Good-bye!

Chimp One typed
night after night.
And I have promises
to weep – No,
he crumpled the page
and ate it.  So much depends__
upon__ an avocado wheel__
barrow — Nope.
Crumple, eat.

Years scratched their
initials on the lab
wall, ‘til one night,
Chimp One did not
eat his words.
Experts came prepared
to be amazed, to sift
and measure – to critique –
to get paid. Their
fingers traced his runic
path, fumbling for
some facile meaning.

Sputtering, Gibberish!
they threw his
pregnant papers
at the trash and
left – No banana today.

The night janitor
rescued a scrap
from the sweepings
and read,
Rage, rage against
the dying of the
light . . .
took it home,
sang it to his wife.

The news brought
a smile to Chimp One’s
face and he typed:

x7wffplbs’ klrtsgg.djk2rtho

Bill Ebert returns to poetry after a too long hiatus in professional and technical writing.  He has been at one time or another a published illustrator, and an award-winning essayist and photographer.  Bill is a grad student in the English Department at YSU, holds an MA in Journalism from Kent State University, and a certificate in European Studies from Schiller College in Germany.  All too often, he and his partner in mischief, Raggs the Wonder Dog, can be seen careening around the Hudson area like Rapid Roy the Stock Car Boy.

Comments are closed.