Song of My Cell Phone: “I burst into your day calling, texting…”

From the Writer’s Almanac:

Song of My Cell Phone
by Lynn Levin

I have seen the best minds of my generation
clunking into buildings and strolling into traffic
wandering the streets looking for an angry fix—
more likes, more followers, better-looking faces on the dating apps.

Called away. I am always called away:
whatever is not in my presence
more filled with hope and promise
than what is in my presence.
Guilty, I have lain with my beloved
unable to resist the beep and brrring
the breaking news, the time and temperature.

In which destructive element should I immerse?
There are so many destructive elements—
the one beneath my feet
which is plenty destructive
and then all the other destructive elements
horrible, gory
brilliant, super-empowering
alive in the realm of code.

Who today memorizes a phone number
reads a map, or calculates a tip in their head?
I have lost those skills
because my smart phone has made me a moron
and I now depend on my brain extension device
for just about everything.

Friends, I burst into your day calling, texting:
How are you? How is your health?
What did you eat for breakfast?
I sing the life electronic.
Those I love engirth me with their emails
and I engirth them with my emails.

Yet I miss the corded phones of yesteryear
with their clear reception and multiple extensions.
And where have all the pay phones gone
that stood on street corners—
yours for a dime, then a quarter, then a lot more money?
So great for making anonymous phone calls.

I picture the orbiting angels miles above Earth
sending me signals, watching over me.
Maybe watching me too much.

O Phone, what is the soul but this eternal life
in the Cloud from which nothing vanishes
not even my most embarrassing photos and confessions
or misaddressed text messages
or overly emotional explosions that seemed
so pithy at the time?

O Reader, should you find these lines on a cell phone
I celebrate our connection and sing our connection.
If you are the cell phone
I hope that you will not be cross with me
or, if you are, forgive me with all your speed.

“Song of My Cell Phone” by Lynn Levin from The Minor Virtues. Ragged Sky Press © 2020. Reprinted with permission.

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