Have you noticed that the earth
is always turning, that shadows
really do move across grass,
Have you noticed that nature’s
wind touches all of life,
caterpillars, green ivy leaves,
chipmunks, tree trunks?
Have you noticed the white
cloud canvas, sparrow silhouette
in springtime sky, chirping
and flirting with the sun?
Have you noticed the bees
with their stingers, moving
from flower to flower, not
thinking about us at all?
Have you noticed how fast
we move through our days,
from screen to screen, with
all the rest unseen?
If I wanted, every day could be a funeral.
So simple, just put a name into the computer,
wait for the obituary to pop up. Those older guys
are gone, my coaches, teachers, even that camp
counselor from Pine Island, up in Maine, he
could hold his breath underwater for 2 minutes.
Never thought they’d all go away, but there’s
the little candle, Legacy.com warming the screen
with another smiling photo. I read all the comments,
deeply miss her, sincere condolences, with such
a heavy heart. And I feel the weight of age with my
scrolling fingers, try to remember the last time I
saw him, her. What did we talk about? Maybe I’ll
google their kids, see where they ended up.
Minutes pass and I close the laptop,
pretend they’re all still alive.
It used to be just books,
parchment and a quill,
perhaps the trunk of an
old oak tree for support
during pauses to reflect
on words, cradling novel’s
spine. This was before the
nothing of everything, lurking
images, news, videos, email,
promising connection to a
world of always distraction,
attempts to evade our depth,
knowing that internet will save
us from ourselves, but the longer
we stare into that flat abyss,
the more we disappear.
I have a stack of one-dollar bills tucked away
in a drawer, because a friend told me that when
it happens, cash will be the only way to survive
without internet and impaired technological
devices. When it happens, I suppose I will want to
buy water and Clif Bars, and maybe some chocolate,
easy on the tongue, when everything else fails,
like power lines and no NBA game on TV.
And some days I find myself ruffling through the
bills, counting them up, imagining them tucked
into my jeans as I amble into jagged earthquaked
streets, or knee deep in the water of all demise.
And in these moments, my cherished
money looks like frail pieces of faded paper.
my daughter already talks about the
car she wants an Audi, new, shiny
that her friends will admire like
her iPhone with apps that take
wrinkles out of faces in photos
I tell her about my maroon
dented station wagon, Pontiac
1986 Michigan-made to barely
last past puberty
I parked it with pride
my piece of remembering
that life is unreliable
always ready to
start then stop
blind to history my daughter
will never know the struggle of
driving a car that quit, gave up
for her they don’t exist
like rotary phones
like an indigenous name
turned into painted steel
It only keeps track of everything.
Goes by many names: ai, alexa,
amazon, fitbit, iphone, social media,
gps. Records electronic visits,
transactions, steps, sleep, calories
Dazzled, we are, to attach
ourselves to these portable pieces
of cyborg technology.
We ache deep down for robotic
efficiency, perfection like push ups
and botox injections, owned by the
machine, until we are never lost,
never found, only controlled by
predestined patterns moving our
minds this way and that, a 21st century
mechanical moon making our waves.
Once the Irish, the Germans, the workers pressed together, clustered little Victorians, where they were born, lived, then died. Now babies in strollers, babies pressed against mom, against dad, toddlers wobbling, wide blocks of deconstructed, reconstructed, houses, pasted photos, smiling women and men, realtors, listing, listed, selling, sold. White buses, elevated people, wearing laptops like blankets, heading south to touch more technology. Hilly hills, wisps of fog, oceanic clouds, permanent winter like they say Twain said. Past and present commingle in gusts of wind, September summers, sometimes rain and rainbows.