Life of a working girl (Maggie Rainey-Smith)

wearing a blue smock
that zips and fits snug
above my knees
I car pool with my
bachelor neighbour
who smells of
                       Knights
                                    Castile
                                                 and
                                                              tobacco
chewing on his pipe
at intersections and
leaning forward on
corners to coax his car
eight miles passed
lambs in spring and
                       frosted
                                    fields
                                                 in
                                                              winter
faster than the bus
into the city where
under cover sits
my typewriter with
its qwerty keyboard
its smooth dark platen
                       soft
                                    brushes
                                                     for
                                                              dusting
I replace the ribbon
release the margins
and reset them for
the memos the
many many memos
and my rubbish bin
                       over-
                                    flows
                                                 with
                                                              re-types
carbon covers my face
and smudges my copy
I find distraction at smoko
sitting next to the Italian
girl with the wide clear
forehead who each day
                       eats
                                    shiny
                                                 cream
                                                              buns
balancing her tea cup
on dark hose-covered
knees she’s saving
up for her wedding
we listen to the talk
of frocks and flowers
                       dreams
                                    about
                                                 her
                                                              honeymoon
she licks her fingers
clean shaking icing
from her smock and
we imagine our own
eye the blokes from
engineering whose
                       wages
                                    we
                                                 type
                                                              check
their hands for gold
bands rotate taking
shorthand notes from
clerks with big desks
and sharp pencils to
dial their rotary phones
                       calling
                                    outside
                                                 lines
                                                              on
the switchboard which
we operate on shifts
searching for free lines
‘hold on caller’ I’ll try
the supervisor one more
time on this extension
                       the
                                    static
                                                 of
                                                              PBX
the clatter of the keys
the scherzo of carriages
forever returning
retypes, rewrites, head-
phones flashing lights
the cadence and clatter
                       the
                                    criss-cross
                                                     of
                                                              cords
one line to another
the shuffle and tangle
of sheaf and stack
folder and file amid
the intimate interlinear
                       life
                                    of
                                                 a
                                                           Working Girl

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One thought on “Life of a working girl (Maggie Rainey-Smith)

  1. Pingback: Working in the Sixties | a curious half hour

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