Archives for posts with tag: office supplies

by Richard Garcia

How about these paperclips?
Consider the humble paperclip.
Paperclips do not like to remain in their containers.
Paperclips can be found at the bottom of the sea.
The first paperclip was made of mastodon ivory.
Some paperclips are covered in plastic.
Some paperclips are plastic.
Metal paperclips are desirable.
You can twist them while on the phone.
You can use one to pick your teeth.
It is not recommended to use a paperclip to pick your teeth.
A paperclip can unlock a handcuff.
A paperclip cannot unlock a plastic handcuff.
Last time I mentioned paperclips
I received boxes of paperclips in the mail.
Here are some candy paperclips.
You can use them to attach important papers together.
You can eat candy paperclips.
Paperclips are like some marriages.
They clip things together temporarily.
Please don’t send me any more paperclips.
You can use paperclips to brush your eyebrows.
It is a little known fact, but every computer
has a secret tiny hole somewhere on its body
into which you can insert a straightened paperclip.
Usually, a frozen computer will start up again
when you insert the unfolded paperclip into its tiny, secret hole.
Your IT guy at the office would rather you did not know
about the tiny, secret paperclip hole in your computer.
Paperclips have been sprinkled into space by scientists.
Paperclips ring the planet. Some planets have rings of ice,
boulders, bits of exploded comet, purple and yellow meteor dust.
Our planet has a ring of millions of paperclips.
Recently it had been noticed that the paperclips
are joining together, each clip attaching to each clip
forming a paperclip chain in the ionosphere.
Maybe Mankind could learn something from all
the paperclips that have fallen into remote corners of our offices.
Here are some biodegradable paperclips made of recycled paper.
Here are some paperclips made of compressed diamond dust.
Here is a paperclip I have carried in my pocket since 1944.
It saved my life at Omaha beach by deflecting a sniper’s bullet.
As you can see by its girth, they don’t make paperclips like they used to.

SOURCE: Rattle Issue #33, available at Visit the publisher at

by Stephen Burt

Likeness held in the hand,
I can link any thin thing
to any thin thing: rarely cold
to touch, and unassuming not withstand-
ing my silver paint’s sparkle. I can connect
a map of Connect-
icut to an atlas of Iceland,
or flatten out the mountains of Vermont.
I have no use for a doctrine of non-
attachment, although I once
put an argument for it together:
I see through and remember any sliver
of paper or ribbon that has ever passed
between my stainless teeth…

In hope that what I join
nobody will put asunder,
I preside eagerly over
every union I encounter; I pretend
that anything I make fast,
will hold fast, though the ever-
sharper incisors of my mother,
Time, her servant, Dust, and her other
servants, Water and Sunlight —
the enemies of the news
today, and of anything you write
tomorrow — will in fact devour
everything I touch:
each letter and artifact
will go the way of all files —
cursive and print will join up,
gold and black merge and indigo,
each stock and weight at last
as good as any other in
the empty chamber I will someday know.

SOURCE: “Swingline Stapler” appears in Stephen Burt’s collection Belmont (Graywolf Press, 2013), available at

PHOTO: Collectors Edition Swingline 747 Polished Chrome Classic Desk Stapler, available at


 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor. He grew up around Washington, D.C., and earned a BA from Harvard and PhD from Yale. Burt has published three collections of poems: Belmont (2013), Parallel Play (2006), and Popular Music (1999).

Burt’s works of criticism include Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (2009), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Art of the Sonnet—written with David Mikics (2010); The Forms of Youth: 20th-Century Poetry and Adolescence (2007); Randall Jarrell on W.H. Auden (2005), with Hannah Brooks-Motl; and Randall Jarrell and His Age (2002).

Burt has taught at Macalester College and is now Professor of English at Harvard University. He lives in the suburbs of Boston with his spouse, Jessie Bennett, and their two children. (Source:

Author Photo: Jessica Bennett, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED