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“An Update” & “A Nightmare”

250 words

steampunk-lamps-5 (1)An Update
Inspired by W. H. Auden’s “Doggerel by a Senior Citizen”

Our lives are electronic now,
Obsequiously we scrape and bow
To every gimmick passing by
And never stop to question why.

What craze is this to get a nook
That does not look like any book?
Nor does it angle as it might
Atop the stair, beneath a light. 

Whence comes the urge to twitter, tweet
While using thumbs — why not the feet?
The internet knows everything
Your cuticles, your heart in spring,

And all about what stuff you watch,
And how you live. But there’s a catch –
Your demographics are for sale,
And thereby hangs this grisly tale —

What you have bought from off the shelf
Defines you. You will find yourself
Too soon devoured by moth and rust,
You’ll drop and cool, they’ll sell your dust.

A Nightmare

Ill-thought and shoddy installations, hanging
In whitewashed factory rooms, with music clanging,
Claim that they are both thoughtful and sincere.
Yet shape up in most eyes as grotesque, queer.

The scratching of a rusty pin within
A conscience imitates the tattooed skin,
Though mutilation of the spirit’s worse
Than electronic misery. A curse
Of gadgets aims expressly to distract
Us from decisions on how we should act.

A people governed by some ill-thought theory
Makes day to day decisions sad and dreary,
So limiting, self-punitive and wrong
They blot out any beauty, joy, or song.

Contemporary living is what we
Call it. A better name, catastrophe.


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