The success of a revolution is marked
not by loud presence of the new
but non-echoing absence of the before – Slide rule. Typewriter. Walkman.
Before Apple, before Microsoft
before the graphical user interface and computers for everybody
files were sheets of paper, bounded by thin cardboard.
No directories or folders. Hierarchical by colour.
Memory could never recall the hue of the personal file
perhaps slack should be cut for infrequency
sited just once, inverted, so the man seated opposite could read easily.
Open, self-conscious of being uncovered in public.
On the inside cover, precisely equidistant from praise and criticism
neutral to the rising hope of the first page,
the declined petition that would be the last.
Chapter one. Verse one. In the beginning
the civil service created personal information.
Name. Date of birth. Qualifications.
Day, month, year of commencement.
By the first of March.
He laughed and spoke of my luck. This is a leap year. An extra day.
Gallows symmetry. Second line. DOB : 29th of February.