Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Which I Close My Eyes and Pray

Everybody gets so much information all day long 
that they lose their common sense.
~Gertrude Stein

Picasso's Mistress [source]

If I'd left well enough alone
I'd still have a phone that acts like
a computer, that acts like an assitant
that doesn't talk back to me

Not a thrashing alien, other worldly being
bleeding time, draining the internal battery,
initiating the lost who march up the clay-like
learning curve, dense mud glomming ankles

A Lilliputian robot commanding
commitment, syncing and stroking,
dragging and downloading applications for
which I have no use, nor know how to use

I enter a thin 4 ½ by 2 ½ black coffer,
a machine, a temple, where he dwells,
and faithfully store potpourri filled tablets
which are promptly forgotten,
knowing, by baptism, I shall leave a cyborg

Mind blank, eyes still, I don't remember
where the keys are, or his phone number,
or the recipe for coq au vin,
or the doctor's appointment...

...All of it humming in the chantry, I have
given myself completely and pray I never
lose my way, feel gluttonous, envious, or
convert to a lesser religion—like worshiping Gods

The threat of excommunication as penance
for fickle minds holds me loyal to the machine
who summons me to read Stein
or Hemingway on its Kindle app.

Talk to me, oh Great one,
talk back to me, I listen, I hear,
I'm open to you, my salvation,
to your sacred glossolalia.


  1. we should thank all the gods that be that it does not talk back to us for how much deeper in thrall would we be then?

  2. I used to help make those things and I still don't know how (or even like) to use them.

    Still, how could you put coq au vin in here? Come on, it just doesn't belong. It's..., almost sacrilege.

    I hope all is well, soon.

  3. I hate that I have become dependent on my iphone/ipad/kindle/laptop but I am. Especially my little 4.5 x 2.5 assistant who reminds me of all the little details. My memory might be getting weaker but my gadgets keep improving. Maybe things will just equal out.

  4. I'll admit it. I often (not every time, mind you, but often) have to look up a word you've used. And I'm still not sure exaclty what 'glossolalia' means. But if your phone/assistant/kindleapp is talking in tongues, it is probaly wise to set it down and step slowly away.

  5. Ellen- I swear mine barks at me. Talks, too. I'm in trouble...

  6. Shopgirl- I had the iPhone in one hand and the Droid in another, and literally weighed by option. I chose the Droid.

    So. I got to know everyone at the Verizon store pretty well, and what I discovered is that those support people know only slightly more about phones than my kids do. My daughter gave me a tutorial, and she's an Apple girl!

    (That Droid will gobble up anything.) ;)

  7. Cheryl- I gave up my paper calendar a couple of years ago and I'm beginning to think I ought to start it again. I'm so suspicious. Somehow, I don't believe "back-up" is really back up unless it's on paper.

    Good thing for gadget improvement, though. I think, yes, it will be the great equalizer. ;)

  8. Nessa- Good advice! But it's too late. I'm already attached (after I returned the first deadbeat Droid).

    I'm hoping, for it's next act, it will sing. :)

  9. When technology takes over it won't be with a flourish. It will take the more insidious path of slowing us to a crawl.

  10. Ha! This is great!I think one of my favorite things about your writing style is that I always want to read it again. Sort of like a fun ride at the amusement park- let's do it again!
    Our daughter was at the Verizon store last night and came home very happy. Probably because I wasn't with her.

  11. Jayne, Technology has become so personal, we’ve entrusted it with our family memories, best friend’s numbers, books we’ve written, finances, and entertainment. Most mothers run a background check before hiring a nanny. I’m just saying…
    Fabulous post Jayne, you’ve mirrored my feelings yet again!

  12. I'm a BlackBerry fan, iPhone is a toy in my opinion (I'm not insulting it, it's just not for me...). But my lovely BlackBerry got stolen a 2 weeks ago and I'm totally lost without it, have to buy a new one, asap.

  13. This is amazing! I could not stop reading, and the sentiment behind the message . . . wow!

  14. Sometimes, I think not having a smartphone isn't such a dumb decision after all.
    And +5 points for the use of "glossolalia".

  15. Munk- I tend to agree. I'm stocking up on paper. ;)

  16. "thrashing alien" -- love that!

    I actually still have a phone that just makes phone calls. That's all it does. It's small and humble and obedient, and I like it that way.

  17. Oh Leonora, thank you. That makes me :-). I'm happy to hear your daughter had a positive experience. I'm going to give my droid the weekend, and if it's still causing trouble I'll be back in the Verizon store on Monday morning--ready to purchase the iPhone4!

  18. Leah- Wow! I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right. Those phones are mini computers that have stored in them an awful lot of personal information. It's crazy!

  19. Starlight- I come from the world of Blackberries, too! Now my daughter wants my old Blackberry (not that I'll give her internet access). The jury is still out on the droid, though. Change is hard. ;)

  20. Angela- I think my poems tend to be little rants. I'm finding that expressing my frustration in that manner really helps to relieve the stress! ;)

  21. DB- Yeah, how much dumber do we get by relying on a smartphone??

    Five points, wow! Does that put me in the lead? ;)

  22. Dale- LOL. "Small, humble and obedient" - that's fantastic. Compliance is key.

    I should just hang it up and go back to the old way. But my daughter enjoys (a little too much) teaching me the ropes. :)

  23. You make coq au vin?

    Might I come visit? ;)

  24. Of all places to store such a recipe... just blog it! ;)

    I don't have a cell phone.. I'm afraid. Very, very afraid.

    Well done.. :)

  25. Hilary- Bog it, yes! That's a good idea (but there are plenty of recipes on the web).

    No cell phone?! You are only the second adult I know that does not carry a cell phone. The other is my cousin, who also lives in Canada (Quebec). Hmmm... Are you guys a lot less stressed up there? ;)

  26. This is really well done, a very effective and powerful way to get your message across. I used my dictionary to fully enjoy each line. :) :) :) Really had me thinking about my relationship to technology.

  27. My children knew that I cussed royally every time my cell phone rang, blasphemed in bright blue, as I never had for the old, corded phones I grew up with. So, they downloaded the sweetest sound I know, my grandson's long, peeling, rising, falling, gurgling giggle, to be my ringtone, believing I'd be happy at last whenever a call came in.

    It worked for two weeks. Now, I curse my grandson's giggle before I remember that I never want to do that. It's done. I have become evil and I blame Martin Lawrence Cooper.

  28. Your poem is very relevant to our times. People are becoming more and more dependent on technology, and it's hard to know where this will all lead us to.

    Picasso also liked "new models", not of technology but of women. The say, his marriage ended after his wife saw the above picture with the half nude teenager who was his mistress.

  29. Jade- Thank you! And thanks for stopping by. I've become less enchanted with technology lately. But maybe that's because I have this mental block about it. I'm still somewhat in denial. ;0

  30. Nance- *giggles* "...blasphemed in bright blue..." Ain't that the truth. Mine has a fiery orange hue--seems it's always angry which does not help improve my mood.

    But I've got to give your kids cred for trying baby gurgling as a ring tone. Brilliant! Though, that would grate on me after a while, too. It's all grating, isn't it? Why all the demands? I want to be like Hilary and become a cellphone non-owner.

    It would be pretty tough to go back, though--'specially since my daughter has already downloaded Tango and loving her new video-conference mode of communication with mother. Ugh.

  31. Duta- Exactly. It's leading to an overly distracted population, that's for sure.

    Glad you picked up on the Picasso's models! I chose the painting because I was thinking of Stein's friendship with Picasso, and Picasso's relationships with his models--whom he did dispense and dispose of as he pleased. Though I think a phone would be less affected by any rejection. Then again, you never know with these smartphones...

    Vay, now I have to worry about the phone's feelings? ;)

  32. Ah, I see we must have just gotten the same new phone. I'm happy you can take out your frustrations so eloquently through poetry. I, however, am glad to have purchased the insurance plan, because I foresee this technological pocket know-it-all being pitched against a wall someday...