Friday, March 18, 2011

Keeping a Net Beneath Them

                                Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.
                                                           --Colleen Wilcox

I open the book and pump three poems 
into their heads, push a paper ladder 
against their brains and beg them 
to climb out of their mind-set
of common connectivity and fantasy.
But I discover their fear of heights and,
of course, I compete with Facebook,
Twitter, and some strawberry blonde
in a Saran Wrap costume snorkeling for attention.

Once I drowned in the undertow of mini-skirts,
bell-bottom trousers, and long hair row after row.
So maybe it makes no difference
what they think or do or wear in school today,
or whether they squeeze the universe into a ball
to roll it toward some overwhelming question,
or love a red wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater
beside the white chickens.   

These are the Millennials: the Net Generation 
that plumbs the meaning of life without sweetness 
and through Wi-Fi networks and iPhones,
and what they learn now surges from a flux
of wireless LAN, Bluetooth and YouTube. 

Perhaps they’ll find out later
all they need to know [about] truth [and] beauty
for now, just riptides 
to their short-circuited obsessions.

Even so, I can’t help but love their vertigo
when the heavy tug of ignorance lifts slowly
from their faces against the sinking of gravity,
just after they embark on that first rung 
of understanding and ascend 
with no sense of balance.


“Keeping a Net Beneath Them” was originally published by Thorntree Press in Troika IV.


1 comment:

  1. Ah! Just an existential voice in the vast wilderness of ubiquitous connectivity. Is there anyone out there?

    ReplyDelete