In my last post, ‘Interpermeable realities, material & digital,’ I suggested that manipulative impulses, as well as sources of addiction, are leaking over from our digital worlds into our material realities. The impulse to conduct a word search in a paper book for just one example.
Even before the digital age, of course, we’d experience impulses to alter our material world merely by wishing hard. A faux pas, for instance, could make you wish you had access to an existential UNDO button or, or least, PAUSE and REWIND buttons — some way of going back and fixing things. But no point crying over spilt milk, eh?
All that’s just by way of introducing a poem. Two of them, actually, one inspired by the other. I’d originally presented the first at a Bangkok reading years ago, where the set theme was ‘CTRL-Z (Undo).’
I’d expected negative feedback from certain elements in the crowd, and prepared my rebuttal in advance, sort of a poetical one-two combination punch. And so go our best-laid plans. I never got to read the second, and might as well have never read the first, for all the response I got. Which was ziltch. Nada. Nothing, either negative or positive. What a surprise, eh?
Whatever. Here they are, back out in public, and I’ll let you be the judge.
CTRL-Z (If I’d Been God)
“Oh, yes!” she cried.
“Oh, Sue!” I replied.
And everything stopped.
Though not long enough,
To edit the stuff.
Being’s designed badly:
No rewind, no undo.
Her name wasn’t Sue.
And here’s my never-read anticipatory uppercut:
Alison lunged from her lair,
To slam reader with chair.
Explaining just how he’d transgressed,
And in which way up he had messed.
This benighted guy,
So recently high,
On his own, would you believe, poetical best.
So he slunk away,
Perchance to versify ‘nother day.
But what the fuck.
He should never’ve had no truck
With no rhyming lines
Nor no PC whines.
So it’s back to the prose.
Where a rose is just one more stinkin’ rose.
(By Collin R. Piprell, aged 24½, no relation to T.S. Eliot.)
“So what was her name?” Sara asks.