21 January 2018

Conversation Among Strangers

I’m “tweeting.”
Whistling, actually.
A tweet is an instant 140-character message
that flies around the world.  Its echo
inside the four walls of one room
is quite accidental, while whistling
ricochets around it like a cue ball
banking but with no pocket to capture
and stop its anti-music vibration. 
Spontaneous outburst of joy,
it’s a sure sign that no one
is listening.  The expectation
of isolation is complete.  Who
would tweet their stupidity
when whistling is possible?

Or prayer! Here’s another choice
of solitary expression, though it could
be tweeted or done in a group.

I’ve been known to draw my prayers
for the duration of making art,
you understand, not for the skill of it
as my crude stick figures and unblended
color pencil scratches attest.  
Some need priests for prayer and others
need candles, mandalas or cantors.

Those that use a computer to talk
to world-round audiences
shouldn’t be surprised when
answers come in bombs or laughter.

Let’s talk instead.
Let’s talk before we whistle or tweet
or sing or pray and before we scatter,
before we forget conversation is what
two or more people do after listening.
They use questions to draw each other out,
to dig deeper into the softer flesh behind
the public slogans and rehearsed speeches
that get us by, that substitute for closeness.
Imagine looking across a crowded room
and seeing many whose masks had
lifted for an instant, to smile, to respond
honestly to a sincere and direct question,
as if it mattered, as if humans mattered—
even the strangers who share a room. 

Posted at 

Poetry Pantry #387

Ok, so this is a bit of an anti-DT rant.  His tweet 
cheering on the Women's March was so laughable, 
it scared me. And there still may be bombs, but 
that may be a different topic altogether.

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast


Loredana Donovan said...

Oh I think social media in general is a bit out of control. More people spend time looking at their phone than having an actual conversation face to face. I agree we should interact more in person and kindly, even if online!

brudberg said...

I feel the same... how we have limited our skills in communicating... 140 (or maybe it's 280 characters) is amazing for some things... but it can become that echo chamber where all you do is listen to yourself in the end...

Let's talk.

annell said...

I liked what you have to say. And your write seems to me, the words of someone who has something to say.

I especially liked that last paragraph....Let's talk instead....

R.K. Garon said...


Sherry Blue Sky said...

He is so delusional, it is very scary. The good news is 50 women are running for office! I enjoyed this affirmative read, Susan.

Bekkie Sanchez said...

I think we've gone too far too. I just ranted myself on a poem called Broken. (https://capriciouspoet.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/broken/)
We are transfixed by cell phones. I bike down a beautiful trail, people are walking in nature staring at their phones. Once and awhile a fellow bike rider almost hits me looking at their phone. I don't behave that way when I take a walk my phone is put away. Companionship is suffering. I miss board games. ~sigh~

Wendy Bourke said...

This is such a relevant articulation of the state of a good deal of communication in 2018. The idiotic limitations of social communication, in particular, is very disturbing - with huge social and environmental issues (often life and death issues) reduced to bullet statements with no room for nuance, gray areas, or questions. Brilliant writing!

Thotpurge said...

before we forget conversation is what
two or more people do after listening... absolutely. I think we're losing that ability... with each generation, the skills seem to be vanishing at an alarming rate.

Jae Rose said...

I love the image and words.. silent prayer and real conversation are real gems in the current state of the world

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Kinda bitter-sweet (even if we leave the Bogeyman and the bombs out if it – not that we can). Seems to me there is not a lot of real listening happening anywhere much.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Oh Susan this is so incredibly touching!💞 People hardly talk to each other these days thanks to social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. In fact, I went to a dinner once where everyone was seen using their smartphones instead of striking a conversation! So yes, " Let’s talk before we whistle or tweet or sing or pray and before we scatter, before we forget conversation is what two or more people do after listening." Beautifully executed!💞

Mary said...

OMG, Susan! I knew you were a talented poet, but this one really leaves me in awe. Indeed, who would tweet their stupidity when whistling is possible! We know, of course, who. If only he would pray instead of preying on everyone who disagrees. If only he would get together with those so called 'christians' in name only and pray, pray, pray for what is right - not right. And yes - no surprises if answers come in bombs or laughter from all around the world. He is (in) famous, all right, but will the world survive.... It would be nice if he would talk. No 'talk' has been replaced by 'decree.' My way or else let's filibuster..change the rules. Indeed one wonders what matters besides power, besides being the one loved 'bigly.' And oh, the comments on the women's march....appalling....I am speechless about so many things. Excellent capture. JUST excellent!

Susie Clevenger said...

Yes, the tweet can show just how ignorant someone is or appears to be. Let's talk, eye to eye, life to life. Love this!