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.