Turned comatose in front of screens,
Updating statuses, commenting, liking,
Friending, unfriending, clicking, typing,
Logging on and off and on and off and on and off again,
Checking newsfeeds and notifications,
Posting on walls and awaiting reply,
Begging for “likes” like junkies on a corner looking for their next fix,
Next hit of that acceptance, that approval
From the virtual community of strangers they call "friends,"
The guy you met at the party last night,
The kid you had that class with one time,
The girl from high school you haven’t seen or talked to in years,
A teacher, a preacher, a stranger, a friend,
Anybodys and everybodys and nobodys and somebodys
And his buddies and her buddies but in the end no actual bodies,
Just screens and pages and profiles and pictures and posts.
Solitary confinement a thing of the past
Now self-inflicted, self-elected,
The preferred state of the masses.
There are no jail cells required, nor chains, nor bars,
We lock ourselves away in our screens,
They are with us everywhere
We carry them in our pockets,
In our bags, in our briefcases
They are our new extremity
As necessary as our arms, our fingers, our legs, our hearts, our minds, our voices, our souls,
They part us and are part of us,
We have evolved… or have we?
We dare not leave them or lose them,
They are our companions, our true other halves,
They rise with us in the morning,
Rested and ready to tackle the day.
Checking constantly and habitually the time, the messages, the contacts,
Taking photos, writing emails,
Texting, talking; but never to someone who is actually there.
Always wondering what we’re missing, what else is going on,
Where else could we be and when we get there will there be enough battery left to check it all again?
And when the screen dies we rush to an outlet to revive it,
To bring it back to life, to help it survive… to help us survive.
Now turned to texters,
Gone are the miles that separate us
Traded for minutes between responses,
Gone are the mealtime pleasantries
Replaced with the shoveling of food into mouths and the continuous almost unconscious glancing at screens
We are our phones, our computers, our televisions,
Our iPods, our iPads, our iThis, our iThats
All of the I and none of the we,
Separated and subjugated to the screens
Mass marketed individuality
A world disconnected by connectivity
Ensnared by the internet
We are relegated and resigned
To a virtual reality.
But when the batteries die,
And the outlets aren’t near,
And we are forced to connect to the people who are here,
I see our hopes live again,
I see our lives live again
In real time and in the real world,
And my hopes return for these iBoys and iGirls
That they may speak and be spoken to,
That they may joke and laugh and love
And live in a world outside of the screen;
Only when we disconnect can we connect.
Only when we disengage can we engage.
Only when we turn it all off will we be turned on.
Only when the screen goes dark will the world light up.