Satisfying Clicking Sound

Winter, 2012–2013 / No. 29

“There was the (alleged) time he asked engineers on the original iPod team to stay up all night fiddling with the headphone jack so that it made a more satisfying clicking sound.”—Farhad Manjoo, on Steve Jobs.

This poem, says what’s

his Yeats, better

close with the click

of a well-made box—but

he’s vague on the specific make

of click. Is it one chirp

of a cricket, sifted

from its field

of creaks and isolated

on its own track?

A swan’s neck high-

heeled until it goes crack?

Or is it richer sound—

a couple of castanets

cut from the bones of a pair

of Marie Antoinettes

and clacked the once

and disposed of?

Whatever, it better

resound. We trust

a diary will keep its word

under lock and key or stay

mum on the names

of persons we wish

to sleep with—but the clasp

when we close it

better cluck its tongue

cleanly. What’s grating

is the indefiniteness

of the death rattle-

ragged, the way

we have to guess

which one’s the last

gasp by waiting

out the sequence.

Jason Guriel’s new book, The Pigheaded Soul: Essays and Reviews on Poetry and Culture, is forthcoming in 2013. Last updated winter, 2012–2013.