The Golden Age of Paraphernalia

Any surface at all, inside or out, you
touch it
and a scrolled menu appears

chemical makeup, distance to the
sun in millimeters,
distance to the Vatican in inches,
famous people

who have previously touched this
spot, fat content,
will to power, adjacencies, and
further articulations.

And each category has dozens of
and each subcategory scores of its
own, all

meticulously cross-referenced,
linked, so that each square
centimeter of surface everywhere,
pole to pole,

from the top of the mightiest
Portuguese bell tower to
the intestinal lining of a sea turtle
off Ecuador, has

billions of words and images
attached, and a special area,
a little rectangle, for you to add
your own comments.

It is the great work of a young-adult
civilization, a metaliterate culture
with time on its

prosthetic tentacles, at this point
slightly more silicon than carbon,
blinking vulnerably
in the light of its own

radiant connectedness.

This excerpt comes from a new book of poetry by Jordan Davis, via a lengthy review in The Nation. I don’t normally have time for poetry, but I think I will make an exception for this book. The chunk that I requoted above strikes a deep chord with me, a profound and funny (yet worrisome) statement about the kind of world in which I increasingly find myself—and which I am indeed helping to create.

Ironically, I thought it might be a wonderful first book to buy on my second-generation Kindle, which should be arriving next week, but it is not currently available in that format.

This page was last modified Thursday, 19-Feb-2009 11:47:43 CST.
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