M. A. Schaffner, 4/3/2017

Current Occupation:  Writer and part time history instructor. Former Occupation:  Federal civil servant, working in personnel and budget, and on agency staff. Contact Information (short bio):  M. A. Schaffner has work recently published or forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, Magma, Tulane Review, Gargoyle, and The Delinquent.  Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys.  Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.



Facets Of The Evolution Of Information Technology

It can still be done.  Carefully cut the quill,
sharpen the wedge-tipped stylus for the clay
the reed for the papyrus; kiss the brush
for the line on the shaved slat of bamboo.

Tippy tap, thumb dance, finger stroke the screen.
Simulate magic where nothing happens.
Emotions evanesce; ephemera
become permanent, hidden in themselves.

Watch as your avatars self-actualize,
and representations replace the mold
in which we cast reality, such as it was
in some prior age, just moments ago.

Five feathers from the goose's right wing.
Unused, they loiter in parks, on lawns,
leave turds like soil cores on golf courses
where we no longer play, having the app3



The Last Position Classification Specialists On Earth

When I last saw Phipps the frou-frou vineyards
had just begun sprouting on Twenty-Nine
all down to Charlottesville and FEI.

He must be seventy but looked even younger
than way back when in CCPO Ten.
He must have stopped smoking the stout Camels

that gave him a rasp but still left his baritone
and — new for him — an uncynical smile.
Commissioner of Niacin or something, he said,

which just meant he'd made it, which was fine,
because we all know that titles are bullshit,
because that's what we do in the Two Twenty-First

playing "Ace of Aces" in the tiny break room
between flights down the road to another base
of sheet metal desks and all-day coffee,

and however we found ourselves all at this table
laughing and looking like youngsters again
I am so glad for the living and dead
that rode together then and always will.


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