Poems about technology & the Internet

The Crier: An Allegory

 

“Hear me, hear me!” all day long he cries,
soliciting thumbs-up from passerby
where the people are many & most of them cry
just as loud—why he tries
to be heard over the crowd is beyond me,
but there’s always somebody responding.

“Here’s my story!” he yells. “Nothing to hide!
I’ll play-by-play till the day I die
& tell you so much you’ll think it’s all lies,
but I’m really this shallow, believe me—
I live just so strangers can see me!”

“Well hollered, my friend!” another replies
at the top of his lungs from the herd’s other side.
“Isn’t it wonderful how, in our time,
we can all see each other, but never meet eyes?
We’re all the same now, whether sighted or blind!”

There’s no message here—how could there be one?
but if you want to look for one, for fun,
look around you & wonder, right here, on the fly,
where would you turn if you needed to cry?

~

Image: Sandro Botticelli, 1480

 

Futurist

i see the future, see—
not like a prophecy—
but i imagine
free
(that seems to be the key)
then, being an engineer,
i bring the future here

 

Playtime

Want a useful thought? Here’s one:
play is good for more than fun.

Through play, even wild wolves explore
in peace their readiness for war,
& language (“give a thing a name”)
is mankind’s first recorded game.

The rest is easy to derive:
we work hard & play hard to thrive.

The most advanced tribes ever known
used playing as a shared backbone
as they passed down, against all odds,
their richly painted masks of gods.

Invention (i.e. “make cool tools”)
is simply play with self-made rules.

We use play to grow, learn, create,
communicate & propagate—
plus (Shakespeare said it) play’s the thing
to catch the conscience of the King.

*
See also: Homo Ludens by Johan Huizinga
Image: Van Gogh, “First Steps” (1890)

 

Talking to the Internet

You
unforgiving
all-recalling force
disguised as a mere
information source:
When this coarse paradigm
has run its course
& none alive were born before your day,
will you remember what
you took away?

*
Inspiration: The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
Image: An early use of anesthesia (1847)

 

The trouble with texting

the trouble with texting is
text is too poor
to serve as the right type of
human-soul door—
there’s so much of you
i can choose to ignore
that before long, i’m not texting YOU anymore.

 

Re: Twitter

All anyone wants to do is
sit around with friends,
laughing & philosophizing
till the wide world ends.

We know social media is
getting in the way,
but it feels like up
and leaving it is not okay.

They will make excuses for us
when we’re dead and gone, like:
“How could they know better?
Networking was at its dawn!”

Still, we won’t be blameless
in hindsight or history;
we’ll be famous for our shameless,
strangely painless misery.

One thing Twitter can’t do is
acquaint you with your grave.
All of us will meet there, friends,
and no one will be saved.

 

The typewriter

one of each color
one of each stripe
all stories i write
i rewrite for all types!

some like em funny
some like em sad
some like em crummy
some like em bad.
whoever you are, your opinion’s embraced.
i guarantee something is typed to your taste!

one for each pipe-dream
one for each gripe
one for each inseam
& every blood type
if you like ice cream
or if you like tripe
there’s nothing on earth
this typewriter can’t type!

there’s only one limit:
there’s no going back.
so if you don’t like what you see
(CLACK! CLACK! CLACK!)
i have no “delete” key.
cut me some slack.

 

Marginal Revolution

for Tyler Cowen

Shortcuts to the spotlight
are the hallmark of our age—
why labor making thoughts bright
when outrage takes center stage?

Seldom can a centrist
(however strong his form)
cut through the division
that’s increasingly the norm.

Rarer still is one
who can sustain his measured stance
among any admirers he enchants.

You’re that unique exception
who does teach & inspire
without peddling deception
or preaching to the choir,
& though it wasn’t face to face,
you’ve taught me that I’m free
to make a better place
of Earth, like you—marginally.

 

Propagandist

I’ve taken it upon myself
to educate mankind.
I’ve studied much psychology,
much science of the mind.
My stamina’s uncanny;
my resolve is absolute:
I’m speaking for the underdogs
who’d otherwise be mute!
I do their thinking for them—
that’s what I was trained to do.
You wonder who I am?
I am not Red.
I am not Blue.
I’m someone using power
to make fake promises to you.

*
Inspired by: Propaganda by Jaques Ellul
Image: Joseph Goebbels