Poem of the Week: Telling Phone

I won’t waste space talking about how significant smartphones are in daily life now, for better or worse. However, with that prevalence, I’ve come to notice certain common signals and phrases they convey can signify much more. Amusing or compelling? You make the call (or text).



Telling Phone

Smartphones are the only removable organ

that isn’t vestigial.

We used to read.

We used to dream.

We used to think.

What happened?

Now we just stare

and type.


That’s how these poems go,

I suppose.

But technophobia tires.

In this new externalized mind, I find

the best reminders don’t give notifications.


Delete all future events.

Personal or professional—a cover closes.

The promise of occupation, docked;

a silent hand stretching into eternity, light-blue to-dos snuffed

like candles a continent away.

What we end today sends soft shockwaves to the future.


Ask to join networks.

A pale Post-It note to be known.

The numbers are right in your palm,

so text, message, address.

Put a tie on and try on your best hello,

portfolio in tow—no matter the passion.

Associate is an active verb.


Reset Statistics.

A penciled-in schedule of piano ballads,

clickbait binges, and narrowly missed conversations

can add up.

At the first toll, Pavlov’s dogged intent

to stay bent for fear of breaking

into normalcy or nihilism.

But stare down a mirror

and remaster the past,

and how much time you can still unwind will surprise you.


Recently Deleted.

Snapshots stockpiled to prove a point

since filed, away.

Desperate headshots, thought better of.

Some moments are paint splattered,

glass shattered: never undone.

But others linger: Bruises,

proving a date’s denouement,

a radical phase’s erasure.

A handheld closet, cleaned out,

still leaves boxes

to soften the edge of our breakthroughs.


Update Contacts.

Fetch New Data.

Every so often,

a closed door locks.

Identity’s lineup takes one step to the right

and we proceed: a childhood song forgotten;

certain birthdays unobserved.

Headspace echoes, but not for long.

Friend Requests accepted.

Photo Album uploaded.

Never stop learning, yearning,

and turning: a slow, mental metronome,

with work and worlds opposed.


Do Not Disturb.

Low Power Mode.

Everyone deserves a decompression session.

Shutter, blinds-like, the light of obligation

for a spell and a song.

Half-speed for a hoarse heart

and a brain like a PC in overdrive.

And when those windows chunk-chunk open again,

the breeze feels like progress.

Not every day can punch forward,

but some can always kick back.


Hide Traffic.
Use True North.


I know it’s hard to find

a wall for your awards

when so many corners scream for attention.

The Nietzchean beauty of webcam celebrity,

of viral stars soon to supernova,

of girls with green hair and raccoon eyeshadow—

stare into the amiss long enough,

and a million-to-one shot comes off

as the best bet.

The prospect of apocalypse

from either side of the ozone;

tending to the ending but still paying rent on time.

A symphonic centrifuge

of changing tunes

that pushes away as it straddles you in place.

But you have the tools, if you want to

look for them.

Zoning out or in, paint that target

Day-Glo and go hunting.

If life is binary, divided

into an eternity of switches,

stay green.

The pressure’s necessary,

but it takes a thumbs-up

to power on.


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