Skype is on your Mac on the table
next to the Malbec and ashtray,
next to the book that cost 120 pesos,
b/c you had to have Ulysses
in English. You’re in some town
where your name doesn’t exist
and they rename you, so you’re
never sure who they’re talking to.
The screen rings. It’s Big Logos.
He downloaded the thing. First
a garbled voice comes from
the keys then, “Can you hear me?”
By the power of gods in Estonia,
makers of software, haters of fees,
the voice says your name and he’s
not anyone, though anyone from
Terre Haute to Rome can Skype you,
he’s someone you know or knew.
Which tense to use? Then his face
appears by the folders, the clock,
the Firefox, his face on his body
in his bed 8,000 miles away
and he says, “Give me a hug.”
You both grab hold of your machines.
You show your eyeballs to each other,
all impressed with yourselves,
as if your eyeballs have not always
been on your head. “Good to see you,”
he says. “Can you look in my eyes?”
You try but you’re always looking off.
It’s sad but it feels good like you love
reading Ulysses and you love being
alone near the Martial Mountains.
He plays a cover of Bruce Springsteen
by Lucero, and what a rad band.
This is the life. This is your friend,
your friend from way back, though
let’s be honest, he was more
than that, and not to trouble you
with facts, he’s still more than that.
You’re so hot for technology.
This is better than IM. You can’t
get enough of his pixels and it must,
please tell me, it must add up,
all those hours spent listening
to Lucero, who is okay but,
let’s face it, not Springsteen,
and all those hours spent watching
Hulu together and now look at you,
staring at your screen, which is
not ringing, which will not ring.
It has always been just a screen.
You can’t blame it for that.
Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.