Am shoring up my new status as a poet by…writing poetry!
I’ll be hosting Forked at the B-bar this week, showcasing the best in new wordsmithery, and I don’t like to be left out of the proceedings. I’ll also be hosting Soundbites at The Ustinov at Bath Theatre Royal next week, with the likes of Polar Bear, Kate Tempest HKB FiNN and Simon Mole (thank-you for your support, Apples & Snakes).
Below is my latest piece.
With laptop as loom, the cyber-spinner crafts a day’s work from binary code. Page loads.
It’s alt-tab alchemy as a webpage begins to take shape.
First its header. Then a footer. Then its buttons go on.
She digs through her inbox to find her tools. She cuts. She pastes.
She saves. Regularly. Stitching time online.
Worn carpet beneath her workstation.
Daylight-blocking curtains with daylight bulbs.
Screen wipes. Low hum.
Ionising crystal and executive toy.
All walls are white. Mac-white.
Her computer doubles as radiator, warming her bones and drying her membranes.
Prior cottage-industrialists suffered needle-pricked fingertips and eye-squint.
Screen-glare equals no blink so a Post-It note reminds her to
(when she can tear her eyes away to read it).
As a digital immigrant in the 90s, she landed with matching computer-cases, dewy-eyed at the big Apple, ready to make her mark in her American dream holiday.
This wasn’t work – this was lifestyle!
She learnt new languages and words. She early-adopted.
She upgraded. Regularly.
Her skills weren’t received from the generation previous. Rather, they sank in from the electric atmosphere exhaled from Silicon Valley.
She basked in the white heat of technology – but it burnt her too.
Partners who were locked out, logged out – stared out by the screen’s unblinking, possessive gaze.
Her pixel-lit pupils fixed on fonts, not faces.
Her fingers flicked over function keys. She Googled. Regularly.
Like wizened old women the world over, our Lady of the LED Lamp will succumb to the
ravages of the machine-age.
Her mouse grip will slacken as her blunted synapses slow up.
Her already shaking fingers will ossify. Petrify.
Her dry eyes will mist over, her ears no longer hearing email alerts.
Her laptop hunch will be permanent.
Pensionable age has been put back to 85, so press on she must.
With no sons or daughters to support her she continues to log on and do the screen time.
The only umbilical cord she experienced linked her to the wall-socket.
Her ovaries atrophied over long days and nights at the screen.
Her children-window closed quietly as she played digital midwife. Witnessing others’ business baby-steps, holding only clients’ hands, soothing scuffed code, smoothing away fears.
So she sits once again on her ergonomic office commode, carefully connects her RSS feed-tube and tries not to remember the sun on her straighter back and the sweet air in her nose.
Or the time when she’d forego time at the keys for a walk in the park with a non-virtual friend. She’d even turn off her phone. Sometimes.
She deleted those memories. Regularly.