Today is Friday.
The paper doesn't come on Fridays,
nor Saturdays or Sundays,
or Mondays or Tuesdays or Wednesdays,
So much for the thrill of anticipation,
for Friday used to be my favorite
day of the week, the only day
I would get the long white envelopes,
stashed into the tall, black-metallic box;
but that's all gone.
So I sip my coffee and hope for more good news
to arrive; time will bring it.
The neighbor's spouse just left him last week,
so he is gone to the Doctors,
and today he walks upright,
his eyes blood-shot and forced open,
a grin on his chin, double the size of
the pair of his eyes.
My father had given the same grin,
and so had my brother;
I'm afraid none had the time to wait for good news.
People in my neighborhood,
they walk so casually without their eyes
doing the work; they're just yearning for purpose.
A voice rings and says to avoid the
stranger walking head on, and they move.
"Call Tina," one says---Tina is not available,
she went to the bathroom to take her
would you like to leave a message?
And how does it know this?
Beats me. I wouldn't know why Tina
would like to have people know this.
The Device is always
with her, whoever Tina was.
It's carried around, never letting go,
always plugged in and never plugged out.
My early class was missing a few people today.
Shaun, the one who sits next to me, was gone for the week.
He claims the dopamine and serotonin levels were low
in between the synapses,
so he had to go for a week of injections.
That would keep him on top
for the next few years.
None of his obsessive, anxiety-stricken
habits that he performed before he came to class.
To distract himself, he implants the Device
under the flesh, relaying signals to his brain,
projecting a whole screen in front of his pupils.
And that's how he walks the whole day
with just a click of a button.
I cannot speak to him anymore
for now he is gone into his own world,
a world I am not part of.
The other day, as well,
Lisa, the girl who I study with
she is also plugged in and never plugged out.
I hate the world that she's in
and I am not a part of,
for when I speak, I speak to thin air.
Oh, it is an unpleasant sight
to see her staring out expressionless,
searching through the Browser
for upcoming events the next weekend.
"Are you there?" I asked her for the eighth time.
"Oh, yes. I am just looking for some good news"
And every day she would look for good news,
and sometimes the good news never came on her screen
like she always hoped it would.
She even once fell over a rock
that impaled through both of her smooth shins;
she was just looking up directions
in the forest through the damn Browser
she had in front of her
when she was camping that week.
And what did she take for the pain?
Perhaps four bottles of Percocet
that would make her dizzy and lifeless,
especially when she took them before
our frat parties; the next morning
she would completely forget,
and would simply go to class unnerved and indifferent.
My mother laughs at the idea of Percocet.
She keeps Valium alive in her pantries,
and I don't see how that's any different.
She is just the same as anyone,
though not the same as she was before
the Valium and the Zoloft,
and the paroxetine (or the Paxil as she calls it).
Friday nights used to be my favorite
night of the week.
A break with just
the family, a warmly interaction for maybe
a few hours.
But now I see my uncles and nephews
and cousins and grandparents,
all plugged in and never plugged out,
Devices shoved under their skins,
and I hate the world they're all in
and I am not a part of.
I'd like to open up their heads and
see the rewiring and the dusty residue
left on their Hard Drives; they never let me
touch the part of the head where they keep
the Hard Drive.
The average person speaks
thirteen thousand to twenty thousand
words per day; my family has narrowed
it down to an average of nine-hundred per person.
My uncle, with a large grin as always,
has narrowed himself down to--five hundred, perhaps?
And his kids with their Devices have went to four-hundred,
and my lovely mother seven hundred,
and my sweet and amiable grandmother four-hundred fifty.
That's because their words are with their Devices,
and are kept by their benzodiazepines or their analgesics
And we all try to forget that day,
the day Cousin Vinny let himself
off the Williamsburg Bridge because
of the too much serotonin he'd gotten
from the too much Prozac he'd taken.
Even my grandfather,
who now spends his remaining days
with external wires and machines
hooked up to him,
tries to forget who he is and what's his purpose.
He has Oligodendroglioma,
a very rare, but lethal form of brain cancer apparently.
They say he spent too much time working
with the Devices,
too much exposure to the radiation,
and I wonder why no one peeps a word.
To forget about the pain and the misery,
they slip him some Tetrahydrocannabinol
in its purest form, and when I visit
he seems so rich and buoyant that
it it almost makes me feel the same,
at the same time I know it's a
mockery of happiness.
To forget his fate,
he forgets what fate means;
he forgets what brings him here.
And is it weird, perhaps,
that on a Saturday morning,
I should be feeling unsatisfied,
even with this damn Klonopin in my coffee?