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BC (Before Cellphone)

Tucked tight in the palm of my hand
It is my staff, my cross, my wedding band-
I am hardwired to the great humanity
And everything ever known BC.

So many friends support my moods
In the Church of the Holy Internet;
We share our love, our music, our foods,
Our liaisons connected like an alphabet.

I shield my phone as it were my child
From the roughness of the rain-
Without it I’m lost, I’m zero, I’m blind,
Disconnected and afraid,

All alone in the digital seas;
I do not carry it. It carries me.

Editing stage: 


I have so far managed to resist the siren call of the smart phones but Do have a simple flip phone. I like the varied rhyme forms which then drifted to free verse. This is "morphing" poetry in case you are curious........stan

I often use slants, as did Keats, Yeats and all other rhymers. Historically that is acceptable in a sonnet form such as this poem. (child/blind , rain/afraid)

Mist flip owners are now fairly advanced in years, like my 96 year old mom...but they still carry it like a prized possession- never to be out of the house without it, and freaking out when they can't find it or it's misplaced. In that way it does have the same, almost religious, devotion as the smart phones.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

an apt metaphor, seeing how we treat our phones as the most sacred objects. it was a nice read. I loved the rhyme of "internet" and "alphabet."

I had been trying to write a poem about this for a while. Sometimes it takes a trip to a place you lived when there where were no cell this case for me was Paris. That 19 out of 20 people were on the phone at all times just stunned me. I know it shouldn't have, there is no place on the planet from the Eskimos to the Masai that its any different, but it just did hit me. No more cafe life and people looking, no more books or newspapers. Everyone is apparently talking to themselves on the street. It's so fucked up, really, the entire reality for humans is changed. It's so obviously an addiction and we are all hooked. First thing I do in the morning, like 5 billion other people, is look at the phone. Is there a cure? (maybe going cold turkey when the cyber wars crash everything?)

So how do you write a poem about this? After a lot of tries, came down to a sonnet. When everything else fails... Not sure if this poem adds anything to the conversation...I hope so


I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Your "Smart" phone as we all causally portray them, are not that smart. I actually did a month without one - maybe two, hence (partly) my absence. Interestingly, when you portray this device as " Tucked tight in the palm of my hand" - I recall Heaney with his pen constantly tucked between thumb and finger. A talisman, a saviour, a thing that we can always return to, to connect us to something, if not religious, then the numinous.
We have these devices with us constantly: un-charged,they illicit fear of loss, fully charged, they gives us the promise of connectivity.
I've learnt a few things about being alone, and having the radio as a friend, and guess what? It's not too bad...:) I think the analogy of religion is apt. Just as the the religion of the gym is apt: the worship of the one, the self, the alter of the treadmill, the altar of the social network, We know this paradigm is bereft of meaning, yet we persist. An interesting theme.
As to your poem, form aside (which for me is no great matter if it makes sense)
These lines are problematic:

"I am hardwired to the great humanity" (I would argue that we are now bonded without wires - with wi-fi connectivity, even more insidious')
"In the Church of the Holy Internet" (A church, a meeting square, an echo chamber, a mirror, a populace expanse - as in the internet being anything but a church).

But in any other sense, thought provoking, interesting, maybe worth re-visiting in light of the (god awful) new revelations of the internet!

Thanks for a great read.



Chris Hall - Tasmania

Grossbooted draymen rolled barrels dullthudding out of Prince's stores and bumped them up on the brewery float. On the brewery float bumped dullthudding barrels rolled by grossbooted draymen out of Prince's stores.

(did a slight edit at the end to make clearer and better meter)
Whereas the poem is, of course, a satire, it also is obviously quite true for the mass of humanity today. I know I am addicted, and panic when I can't find the phone. I can't imagine life before GPS- how did I ever not get lost? But I lived most of my life without a cell phone...can I ever go back?
I congratulate Chris for doing without it a few months. It's like a survival course. In the great wilderness of civilization without a, that takes true commitment! Imagine taking it away from these millennials all around me.. would there be mass suicides?

Hardwired to the great humanity" is using hardware as an idiom. As in these dictionary definitions:
"a. To determine or put into effect by genetic inheritance: "It may be that certain orders of anxiety are hard-wired in us"
b. To provide with a response or capability by genetic inheritance: Humans are hardwired for speech.

I felt the image was quirky enough to keep in, but understand the relationship to the electrical references.
I was trying a follow up "AD (after digital)" as a second sonnet to do a BC/AD thing, but it's not working yet!

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

many impacting lines in this poem abut a device which impacts lives...

raj (sublime_ocean)

I personally don't need one
not because I'm hiding behind a veil of ignorance
I love my olden ordinary cell
of the Queens time
then all still call me SMART GUY
see you are living in BC
I in AD
CALL me an
if you please.

My feeling is if you have a cell phone, and use it, depend on it, carry it with you, freak out when you misplace it, the addiction is real. Old Flip phone or smart phone, same. Like if you must drink a six pack of beer daily or a few martinis, you're still an alcoholic. If you carry a flip and deny yourself having a mini computer in your hand which at an instant's notice you can can find everythingeverwrittenspokendrawnplayedthought etc in the entire history of civilization, including every poem in every well as a thousand "apps" such as gps to help you find your way anywhere in the world...why bother? Me, I'm addicted to. We are a changed species as a result of all this. I have so far failed to get a good enough poem AD (After Digital), a follow up to BC (Before Cellphone) But hopefully soon.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

AD After Digital

That's a wonderful idea Eumol
for OCT POETRY Contest
it will bring forth for the winner


across this title in your list of works and ha to stop and read. opinion is some ppl treat their phones better than children. I found this to be an interesting write.

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