A palette of office wedges, with cracked plastic, yellowed by ultra-violet light and Benson & Hedges, are dropped by a fork-lift truck. Nothing could be finer that to ship them off to China in the morning, to be recycled like the words of an old song. Nobody gives a fuck.

On one machine, an inter-departmental identity number has been etched on the back and is labelled: “Do not remove from I.C.U.”. And yet it was unplugged and let go, years ago.

Dead secretaries, turning in their grave, whisper: “I told you so.” and “Me too!”

Several million helpless victims, circuit boards exposed, cable-tied in batches, tethered, power cords severed, ribbons unravelled like tangled spaghetti. AEG Olympia, TA Triumph-Adler, Facit, Olivetti.

Robotron, Rank Xerox, Smith Corona, IBM. At the going down of the Internet we will remember them. Lest we forget (and how ironic) Brother, Nakajima, Silver Reed, then Canon, Sharp and Panasonic.


If they could speak through broken wheels and sprockets, pregnant with gossip, they’d tell of how they craved chocolates while typing memorandum and composing form letters.

For the latter, straight lines could be achieved, but they would draw the line at making teas for one’s betters or sitting on ones knees.

Many of them are still working. Not that you could know for certain.
We cannot buy their silence now, with cash. Their insulation foam has fallen down like volcanic ash.

Batteries fail, memories will not keep. Brambles of correction tape are eaten by electric sheep. (It was Philip K Dick, I think, who dreamt of that one, in his sleep.)

Science friction burns on the pitted surface of a platen, conjure up for me an image of Manhattan. King Kong atop the Empire State! No. Not really. A wedge can only punch below its weight.

Ah, there’s the rub, the tragedy. You see that Wheelwriter 3, four wedges up? That was once owned by Ray Bradbury.

First published in May 2018.

T.S. Elliot’s The Wasteland