Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Screen Time (A Found Poem)

Screen Time

I confess: I long held out,
and for survival's sake do

report, I could not be alone
with any new technologies.

E-mail threatened me daily
with repeated entreaties,

the torture of not pressing
"send" entirely soul-destroying.

For weeks I was consumed
with the idea that to compose,

record, and share the precious
smell and feel of any moment

was to maintain a presence
on a gleaming screen never

to be shuttered. Diving into
the wells of Facebook was

like a heady romance: I caved.
Twitter was mostly telepathy —

I, admittedly, an early adopter
of short and urgent glimpses

of the mental escape I managed
to counter a gift for fighting off

even work. It's exhilarating to be
seminal online, judiciously slip

smart words into the intelligence
gaps in alarmist scientific studies

of the virtual world, where real
narcissism is spiritually folly

to condescend, and the error
of our electronic wonder —

the terrifying Internet — is dread.
Texting is vital to concentration,

my iPhone my diary, the terms
of our life-support agreement

the elusive tracer of multitasking
and connected types. Alight

in the spaces of our inner critics,
Google re-routes colliding brains.

Where search engines willingly go,
the people, en masse, are mobile,

entering one immersive experience
only to sign on to still another.

2015 © Maureen E. Doallas

This found poem is dedicated to my friend, the Egyptian-American poet, essayist, and aphorist Yahia Lababidi, whose essay "Virtual World: Life-Enhancing versus Soul-Destroying" (The Best American Poetry Blog, September 30, 2015) was its inspiration. Nearly all the words in the poem can be found somewhere in Yahia's post.

Yahia Lababidi on FaceBook and Twitter

I must add that, although I own a cell phone, it is not "smart", I text only with my son and never while driving, and the only machine is own is an iMac.

1 comment:

Peggy Rosenthal said...

Delightful! You've composed the ultimate nightmare of our hyper-communicative world.
(BTW, I don't own a smartphone either. Glad to hear that I'm not the only remaining hold-out in the universe.)