Friday, May 22, 2009

May I Speak To the Past, Please?




I have no doubt that the mobile phone pictured at right will soon seem obsolete or even antique. Maybe it already is the former if not the latter. The velocity of technological obsolescence seems to increase every day. As I think I've noted before, I'm opposed to these wee phones because they discriminate against us thick-fingered ones. When I attempt to hit one button, I usually hit three. It takes me all day to send a two-line text message. I feel like a bear in a sewing-class.


Phoning the Past


I telephoned the past. The number
I reached was no longer in service,
and anyway I'd wanted to reach the past,
not a number. Just as well. What would
I have said? "Hello, I used to live there"?
"Please write me a letter of recommendation
for the future"? The past is a special effect.
When I think about it, it's right beside me.
I reach for it. Then it withdraws miles and
decades instantly, and I'm left in this
lumpy present, which is always beyond
its sell-by-date and curdling into the past.
I read history, but it's a sad substitute
for what happened. So, foolishly, I phoned.
Fine. I made a mistake. That's all in the past.
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Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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