Labels

Like the pine trees lining the winding road
I got a name. I got a name….
   –  Jim Croce

dymo4I see my name all the time
forms, documents – computer screen at log in
the world it seems, knows me
I too, know the world – though less familiarly

When I was eleven my birthday present from
mom and dad was (per my request) a
Dymo label maker
enabling me to feed a plastic gismo with long
strips of 3/8-inch-wide colorful, pliable vinyl

on which a trigger-pull would produce embossed
white capital letters with anything I deemed
pertinent; name, phone number, address

Most of my significant belongings suddenly
contained my info should said items somehow fall
into wrong hands – unlikely for possessions
not portable – hand-me-down stereo, bookcases, table
belonging to an only child in household of three

Defying logic, anything of note that was mine was
proclaimed as such in bold green, orange, yellow strips
tackle box, self-recorded cassette tapes, cardboard boxes
of rocks – items better suited to Magic Marker scrawlsdymo5
Mine? ROCKS – in pristine, raised white-on-lime-green

The colorful, exclamatory technology of my
label maker was intriguing, very cutting edge
1970s me sensed greater potential for
long strips of plastic info

once personal belongings had been emblazoned
with I.D. I branched out smacking a
myriad of objects with witticisms, bromides,
general directives, secret-even-to-me codes
label tape ate up much of my allowance
not to mention a fair amount of creative juices

Discovering that setting the letter wheel slightly
off-kilter made letters crooked inspired me
to purposely cockeye certain phrases, ideas
lines became uneven, and once the backing was peeled
I could stick long stretches of text together into
more artistic clumps of text
sometimes aligned perfectly above one another
though often not so expressly neat

Sitting now in front of my computer screen Idymo6
can manipulate text, designs with simple combinations
of keyboard taps, mouse clicks
having long since worn out my label maker and
its later, self-purchased, replacement modes I can
conjure far more elaborate ideas, ways to display them

From time-to-time I see something in my classroom I
believe should have my name formally inscribed
lest it be prey to a student, or another teacher just
for a moment I think the item might lend itself
to semi-ancient hieroglyphics, white letters embossed
on a lime-green or sunflower yellow strip

just so I can once again dial-up letters, pull the trigger
feel and hear unrhythmic click-click-clickety-clickclickclick
click-clickety-clickety-click-clack in my hands

Therein as always lies the power of words
I got a name. I got a name.

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Published by

poetluckerate

I am a poet, writer and teacher who moved from Minnesota to New Orleans in 2008 to help rebuild the worst public school system in America. It is a huge challenge to say the least. Now, after ten years, I have returned home to my native Midwest. Writing - in many different forms and ways - has saved me untold thousands in therapy bills throughout the years. Reading my writings may do either the same - or just the opposite - for you. Read at your own risk, as I do not offer writer malpractice insurance. ;-{) I hope you enjoy what you read here.