poet, George Bilgere


Perhaps, in a distant café,
four or five people are talking
with the four or five people
who are chatting on their cell phones this morning
in my favorite café.

And perhaps someone there,
someone like me, is watching them as they frown,
or smile, or shrug
to their invisible friends or lovers,
jabbing the air for emphasis.

And like me, he misses the old days,
when talking to yourself
meant you were crazy,
back when being crazy was a big deal,
not just an acronym
 or something you could take a pill for.

I liked it
when people who were talking to themselves
might actually have been talking to God
or an angel.
You respected people like that.

You didn’t want to kill them,
as I want to kill the woman at the next table
with the little blue light on her ear
who has been telling the emptiness in front of her
about her daughter’s bridal shower
in astonishing detail
for the past thirty minutes.

O person like me,
phoneless in your distant café,
I wish we could meet to discuss this,
and perhaps you would help me
strangle this woman on her cell phone,

after which we could have a cup of coffee,
maybe a bagel, and talk to each other,
face to face.  

~ by George Bilgere

via: How a Poem Happens


Lin said...

I'm glad it is not just me who hates that the world has to be on the phone. I always wonder who they are talking to in the middle of the grocery store--and why that call is so important. Or the mom who chooses to talk to her headpiece rather than her child in the stroller in front of her at the park.

We live in a messed up world and cell phones and BlueTooth isn't helping it any. Sigh.

goatman said...

Life is a bitch nowadays!
We haven't been to a movie theatre since Titanic and the Mexican place we go to eat is so noisy that even "talkers to the air" are discouraged.

As I have said before "too damned many people" . . . grumble, grumble.

soubriquet said...

I hesitate to comment here, because it seems to me that when I'm talking on the phone to the proprietor of this blog, I sometimes hear the sounds of her retail transactions in thew background, like the ordering of coffee, for instance.


(however, I am sometimes, though I try not to be, that person, on the phone, in a public place. I hate it too, I hate being the person who's doing that. The person who's the target of glares and muttering.)

red dirt girl said...

To all three of you, I must agree. Lin, I work in retail, and it is most frustrating to help a customer who spends the ENTIRE TIME in your store ON THE PHONE - even through the difficult bits like wrapping up the transaction. I wish we could post a sign up like the one in the photo and let it be store policy ....

goatman - I hear you. I'm not sure what the difference is these days - indeed more people on the planet - but also a sense of entitlement seems to pervade social interactions - whatever happened to politeness, social grace ???

soubriquet ~ sigh. You always have to be the one to point out my inconsistencies, don't you !

MY CONFESSION: Yes, I have a very bad habit of calling my sweetheart on the phone when I am driving home from work. With a 6 hour time difference between us - it usually means I might get a useful 30 minutes of conversation out of him before he drifts off to sleep. Sometimes it is less. And during the drive home, I do things like pick up food through drive thrus, pick up Rx's through a drive thru - and on TWO occasions, he went grocery shopping with me via the phone. No, I do not condone my behavior. It is a symptom of the times in which there seems to never be enough time to connect with the ones I love AND do the mindless drudgery of single mom-dom.

However, I DO NOT sit in cafes on the phone or at restaurants. I turn my phone off at the movie theater. And yesterday, because of him pointing out my hypocrisy, I turned him off while I did my evening chores en route to home. Then called him back when I was free.

Even a mule can reform .....

...should I mention listening to pub conversations in the background tonight ??? oh no. That would not be fair ...


soubriquet said...

Hmmmm. He was outside at the pub, the conversations you could hear were a very noisy tableful of people having some sort of party. No aniimals were hurt in the making of this phone-call.