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2 Poems (Remington Rand Adventures) by Dylan Tran

Typewriter Renaissance

Straddle the line between antique and antiquity, A moldy attic paperweight and novelty,

Gray space in time when something has no value save The anticipation of a turn in style; brave

Grandmothers list their junk on Facebook Marketplace, And I buy their typewriters, stardust written across my face

Like I’m tasting an ice cream flavor I’ve never lived In the right era to enjoy—pecan soft-ribbed

Persimmon, marshmallow mint, plantation butterscotch, Ask Ebenezer Bleezer for the rest—and “Not

At all” is my reply when I’m asked if it was good; It’s vintage for a reason, only understood

If tasted in a different way, like typewriter guys Dressed in their roaring 20s, wearing a disguise

No one alive is able to refute, their hands The color of the moon, their fingers like ampersands

Along the beach, unicorns walking on water, writing a song In verse to those who wish to feel the past, to belong

On a timeline of renaissance, or even before then, A period that’s often waiting to be forgotten.

Busking is for Sellouts

The only writers allowed to write poems about poems

are the same ones who get away with clichés.

The only writers who are accomplished

will have publications, prizes, and fellowships to their names.

In my head, a metronome hums to the rhythm

of my pessimism, as my fingers tap dance

across a machine I’ve been told is far from my generation;

I attempt to write a stranger’s love story.

Metal hands slap ink onto cardstock,

infusing magic into the five-seven-five.

Before the carriage meets the end of each line,

a bell reminds me I’ve been dwelling for too long.

I turn the dusty platen I have neither time

nor money to replace. I hand my disappointments

to warm blue eyes; they glow brighter to my surprise,

a glimpse of the soul I never once believed in.


Backstory of 1938 Remington Rand Model 5:

I acquired this beautiful typewriter from an upscale trailer park in suburban Pennsylvania. Following college graduation, I took up a part-time writing gig with a company called The Haikuists, which is a small business that strives to bring art as entertainment to a variety of venues (parties, weddings, hotel activations, conferences, ect.). We adhere to strict formal and vintage themes, dressing in suits and using typewriters predating the 1950s to write free personalized haiku for our guests on the spot. Although I found my typewriter for this job, it has become an integral part of my life as a writer in general, through serving as an alternative venue for editing to becoming a soothing part of my routine because of maintenance needs. The poems I submitted all speak to different parts of my journey with this typewriter. “Typewriter Renaissance” is about the temporal significance of typewriters and why and how it has allowed me to do the work that I do. “Busking is for the Sellouts” meditates on the transformative nature of the work I do that is so close to busking, but not quite so.


Dylan Tran is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where he studied creative writing, economics, and East Asian studies. He is a Chinese-American poet who strives to uplift the Asian American voice in literature, while walking the fine line between culture and otherness. Outside of writing, Dylan can be found working a diverse handful of jobs, from activities with seniors, to teaching for a Hip-Hop nonprofit, to curatorial work at the National Museum of American History, and more. Follow @dylantran129 on Instagram.



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