#10: Your Dumb Smart Phone

cellphoneThe assignment today was to write an “un-love” poem. The Smiths come to mind, for so many reasons, but in particular the lyric, “I’ve come to wish you an unhappy birthday” from the Strangeways, Here We Come album. Morrissey was/is the king of the “un-love” song. Sure, I can do that, I thought. And I started thinking about all the things I un-love, and it didn’t take very long, because the subject of my “un-love” poem today is a thing I un-love more than almost anything in the world, or at least, the thing that most annoys me: excessive, obsessive, chronically habitual cell phone usage. What follows is my tenth poem in celebration of National Poetry Writing Month.

Your Dumb Smart Phone

Turn it off.
Put it away.
Be here, now.
That thing in your hands, that thing
you caress and cradle against your cheek
like a lover, is killing you, both literally
and figuratively. What’s the report, people?
Distracted drivers die and kill,
sometimes they die and kill at the same time.
That’s clear. It’s statistically true.
What’s more, not deadly but infuriating,
is that being in the presence of someone
who is constantly looking at a screen
that is nowhere near one’s proximity,
makes one feel ignored,
unimportant, insignificant, disregarded,
snubbed, like one is in the presence of a crack addict.
My theory is this: If you can’t go several hours
without receiving or sending a text, or an instagram,
or a pintarest, or a flipping tweet,
checking or posting on faceplant, you are toast.
You’re a ghost. You’re not even in this space.
And you are depriving yourself of life-giving oxygen,
of anything that might happen in your actual sphere
of existence: a smile, a kind word, an interesting thought,
a provocative question, the physical community
of family and friends and peers and mentors.
Whatever it was, you missed it
and it will never happen again.
Be here, now.
Put it away.
Turn it off.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

2 thoughts on “#10: Your Dumb Smart Phone

  1. I heard a great idea – when a group of peopele goes out to dinner, everyone puts their cell phones upside down on the table in a pile. If anyone picks up their phone before everyone is leaving, they have to pay the tab for the entire table. Isn’t it a great idea? I love it. Cheers!

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