Radio Silence

I’ve tried to write this poem
before, I think. but the title just gets
the Thomas Dolby song of the same name
stuck in my head and then
I’m too distracted to
continue. perhaps this time
I will succeed. so, anyway. I’ve
noticed you’ve gone dark.

(I dreamt about you last night.
I was throwing away a box of
Entenmann’s chocolate donuts
and trying to hide it from you
because it wasn’t something you needed
to be tempted by.)

I don’t know what to say
about this, other than somehow
I always thought you would
always be there – even if we
no longer spoke as often – that
I could still read your mind
from afar. but no longer, as
you’ve stopped broadcasting.
maybe without a platform
in which to preen in person
the whole endeavor
of putting your thoughts down
doesn’t seem worth it. well,
I’m sorry for that.

here’s where I should
try to make some argument
for it being good for you
to continue, but we both know
altruism doesn’t become me.

(not to mention my hypocrisy
vis-a-vis my own highly infrequent
signaling. pot, meet kettle: we’re both
black.)

so I’ll just say this:
think of your stalkers,
and kindly throw down
a breadcrumb
now and again
to let us know
your signal isn’t
completely gone.

in which the past repeats itself

so I
saw people posting
their favorite books
they had read last year
and I thought, “I should
do that” and “I think
I CAN do that
fairly easily”
and then I went on
the site that I use
to track my reading
and got the list and started
manipulating it in
spreadsheet form.

at first the list was
a bit overwhelming
as it was 600-odd titles
so I quickly filtered out
only those read in 2018
and arrived at a count of
418. more than one a day.
which seemed excessive
even for me.

chortling and chuffed,
feeling highly superior,
I quickly fired off a tweet
with this number, rather than
double check my work.
big mistake.

further investigation revealed
the true number was ONLY
177. this now seemed paltry
compared to my huge boast
and furthermore I felt a fraud.
since someone had already
responded (shocker!), I did not
delete my original, lying tweet
but merely buried a clarification
amid the replies. further filtering
gave me the 25 books that
were published in 2018, and of
those, the 10 I liked best.

anyway the second, secret
point of this exercise
in self-aggrandizement
was to set my reading goal
for this year. 200, I said to myself
and filled in the box.
then I thought to look
what my goal had been last year.
200, it said. I achieved a mere
88% of this goal.

I tried to feel good
about myself nonetheless.
other people (presumably
gainfully employed, parents, normal
to slow readers, or all three)
were listing goals of 10.
25. one ambitious soul
said 52. ok. I can beat
that. the site is stupidly
counting re-reads which
in my opinion is silly,
but it works in my favor,
so I’m not complaining.

surely I can read even faster.
surely I can prove
that I’m the best
at reading
if not so much
at math.