Posts Tagged ‘technology’


my shame of owning
this brand new iPhone 5S
— reveals my inner
monk/puritan — quite distinct —
a sub-personality

Well, microchip technology is quite something after all. Conversely, I experience a swell of pride that I successfully weaned myself off a mild addiction to Twitter and Facebook (I’ve deleted both). The film Steve Jobs was, for me, a useful prod to the imagination to help grasp just how momentously computers have changed all our lives. Computers somehow engage our emotions whether we like it or not — which is quite some irony given they are totally emotionless themselves. Since a couple weeks ago I now own my first ever brand new iPhone. Prior to that, I had been using my sister’s cast-offs. I dreamed last night that I was holding my iPhone 5S under a stream of running water, trying to wash it clean. Then I realised with a jolt that I was supposed to have waterproofed it first. There was some quite  specific procedure for waterproofing, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember if I’d already carried it out or not. This was an anxiety dream and a wake up call to realise I care far too much about my iPhone! But the poem focuses upon the figure in my own unconscious who seems to be always whispering to me how much better off I would be if I owned nothing at all.


act or reflect?

impotent sadness —
is that really all I have?
what’s the alternative?
— plunge into the infinite
bewilderment of Being

The starting point for this poem was that I dreamed I was struggling with computer technology — couldn’t get the hang of a certain piece of software. I fell to wondering if the dream arose from yesterday’s umpteenth example of my tendency to grieve when I see so many heads buried in technology when I travel on London Transport. The human race is incredibly clever, and computers prove it. In that case why are we rushing so blindly towards our own extinction (from climate change)? Clearly, information technology is not to blame. But just as a man staring at a screen misses what’s actually around him, likewise as a species, we are missing what’s happening to us. That’s how I see things, and in settling down to write a poem about it, I became aware how much of life provokes in me a response of ‘impotent sadness’. I see no solution to suffering. But maybe one can suffer more as a participant and less as an observer. They say apparently a man named Shakespeare wrote a play called Hamlet dealing with these themes.

death wish

what does it all mean?
— so many gadgets asking
for termination —
are they us? are we them? who
will we be when they have gone?

A funny jumble of half-considered questions was all I could manage in the end, after more than two hours’ work. And last night’s dreams weren’t even emotionally challenging, or not in any particularly obvious way. The most disturbing element was the notion that I had somehow won millions of pounds worth of electricity supply, thanks to a weird lottery thing (beyond my comprehension) built into the electricity meter by the utility company. And another dream where my mobile phone was a kind of weapon, and I was involved in warfare whose outcome all depended on whose technology was superior. A third dream had me listening to a playback of my own performance of a Chopin waltz. I noticed the tempo was dragging. Overall, awake, I couldn’t get much further than a feeling of ‘Gadgetry boo! Chopin hooray!’. The poem as it stands manages a kind of ‘boo!’ to gadgetry I suppose.


this urban landscape
deserves better than to be
proved insubstantial

Half a dozen stones which I was trying to manhandle into some kind of barrier or dam on the tarmac of a road. The idea was that I knew there was going to be a current of water sweeping down the road, and the stones would somehow break the current. So I was a kind of engineer, struggling with some very basic technology. Awake, I fell to thinking of stones as the building blocks of civilisation. Cities are both more transient and more alive than we tend to realise. As a homeless person in the eighties and nineties, I related to London in particular, very much in personal terms. It was like a personal relationship.