How many of you remember using one of these?


Fated to live retracing steps taken

Backspacing becomes the norm

A brain one wire short of perfection

Requires backspacing to be the norm

In bygone days erasures quickly met metal

Pen and ink scratched out those shorts

Some keep asking // thinking I should learn

But for me backspacing is the norm

Distractions, only a second past, causes forgetfulness

A mind with a missing memory chip

Seems repetition should solve the problem

But with me backspacing is the norm

Reminders in multiples of ten are needed

Lamenting the need to repeat again and again

Brings no healing to a chipless brain

For me backspacing is the norm

Names go through my canals // beat the anvils

And pass right on through // unless

Piggy-backed on another file //stored there for awhile

It may seem like I don’t care // and sometimes I am not aware

Forgetfulness becomes my greatest flaw

When I am old // perhaps I’ll be excused

They’ll call it Alzheimer’s …and lock me away

Saying for him backspacing is all he ever does


Stamp Art: Dwight L. Roth

46 thoughts on “Backspacing

  1. I love the stamp collage, Dwight, and yes, I remember those. I had a little blue one as a kid. We had to learn on them in middle school (with the letters and numbers taken off.) I vividly remember when our 9th grade gym teacher bought an electric typewriter that she kept up in the balcony area for us to practice on. What a joy it was to feel it being “alive” rather than the inert manuals. Backspace is a good key to have whatever machine you have. Like calculators. You may not be a math whiz anymore, but with a calculator — or a backspace — you don’t need to be. Good poem!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Your poem captures the stagnant agony and the play of mind of one with Alzheimer’s very well Dwight! O just loved the way to tied backspacing to the lost paths of such a mind.

    And I had rented a manual typewriter and created my college project. I love the clicketty feedback of a manual typewriter, and how it allows us to hammer away in glory. I still find the modern silent keyboards rather delicate and lifeless in comparison. And the manual carriage return on the typewriter was so addictive, like cocking the safety lever of a gun or throwing a manual gear shift of a car, I have never caught on to the auto transmissions 🙂

    I had a large collection of postal stamps too, and went regularly to my dad’s office where they dumped the postal envelops in a garbage bin and I happily rummaged for stamps 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Love the analogy, Dwight! I learned to type on a more modern manual typewriter than the one in your photo. Aging does come with the downside of “backspacing,” but your clearer vision of life, so often expressed in your poetry, offers us a clean copy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Remember my first royal manual typewriter, it was a birthday gift. The typewriter eraser pencil was my friend, less so after typing class. Then came white out a life saver, then the white out tabs. Oh the miracle of the electric selectric with the corrective white ribbon insert. I still have my blue royal in it traveling case.
    Getting older backspacing is a norm, along with why did I come into this room.
    although Alzheimer is no laughing matter though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes you are right aging can be difficult! I went straight from a manual typewriter to the computer! A used Apple III, would you believe. My fourteen year old son read the manual and taught me how to use it. it had a dot matrix printer. My older son had the electric with a hard disc to save his documents. What a great improvement.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Backspacing – RenzoNightwalker

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