This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Tara Thomas, 2000; revised as an excerpt from HERSTORY: An Anthology of She (2008)
"All my life I'd been looking for God and he was right in my pocket." - Chris Rock
Civilization has yielded to cities, the likes of u.s. people in pockets -PalmPilotspagerspaper We are 2(PDA) publicly personal, digital displays of assisting one’s affections, width pinched Psalms mass-produced prophylactics pens pluralized pennies plus keys... They arrived at the gates of ghetto heaven, greeted on clouds of smoke, criticizing each other's inaccessibility but warmly welcoming by name. They toke a little advice and notice that the block is, has been, uncharacteristically NYPD-free. Suckas! Time for plan B ‘cause we recognize your d’s, they think. The men don fades, locks and braids. The rides? Rimmed to hooprocked. Unless we’re talkin’ video chicks, the gear is comfortable and self-styled. Which homicidal, overpaid expert said tinted, multiantennaed Chevys and Crown Vics, crew cuts and tight jeans made effective disguises? The logic tickled them and they choked. Just then, another approached the gates, preoccupied with a friend on the unseen end of a camera phone, all eyes seemingly closed yet at least one surveyed the land. The funny cloud and great date subjects the ads suggest aren’t available for capture on this clear day. Oxidized metallic address numbers, stairs that need fixing, the neighbor’s dog, a few folks getting in where they fit in on a porch, however, were. Damn. The joke’s on us... Some take the advice to go and head home, where they
attempt to close Big Brother out for a bit. I don't know about them, but I am an only child and that illegitimate bastard is no kin to me. ******* Here we are, a few thousand years later. Scattered, sordid and still at the task of getting God in the ring, hoping to compensate for the extensive spiritual vacuity witnessed in today’s media. In many ways, we are told that knowledge grants bargaining power over itself and others. If there are two things we, the people, love, it’s a bargain and the wherewithal to affect it. To be in the know, essentially. Maybe it is mere coincidence that Jupiter, planet and mythological lord of (over)abundance, conceptual cousin of our great nation, bears a Hindi translation of ‘guru,’ for "teacher." Maybe it isn’t, but what lessons! Class is all-ways in session. Monitors have left the halls and made their way to bulbous sidewalk fixtures that never emit light, our general routes of traffic, elevators, online activity, train platforms, ATMs, SUVs, our hands... Get caught on the wrong side of “right” during their watch and detention or a demerit of some sort is almost assured, sometimes depending upon your degree of celebrity and/or melanation. So, how ya like dem apples? They don’t get you where they used to. Excuse me as I make no more excuses and kiss the sky, courtesy of the lift I get from the digitally remastered live music of clinically dead artists. Bless them. But speaking of live, just how organic is “live” TV programming if you can pause and rewind it with TiVo? Seems real-time can stop-and-go and old is new is old again so long as the advertising minds behind it say so. QUICK! What’s today’s date? Hope you didn’t have to consult your cell phone for that information. There were times when skygazers and schoolchildren could be entrusted to keep the flame of such abilities, but that was then. My spoiled rotten memory can’t seem to say exactly when, though. Our machines and pained prosperity have our perception of a collective grandeur called God by any rightful name and the time-space thang in a chokehold; so tight our bulging eyes are daily forced to watch little more than a glossed-over reality just beyond reach... to death; like selfsacrificial sheep of sorts. Lamb puts me in a Middle Eastern state of mind and that could place me in violation of the Patriot Act,
right? Oh well. Allow me to continue. Um, the following presentation is made possible by the theocracy of technology, under which the children don’t have to pray or pledge but they better know the art of modern sigils (read: text messaging or graffiti gang signs per your neighborhood); eliminating superfluous letters, usually vowels, and arranging at will for the sake of the matter’s heart and what matters most to the heart of the sender. Texting has become a rather popular mixed bag on the collective campus: parental check-ins for the elementary set; sex, socializing and terrorizing for the teenage angsty; crisis alerts for post-Columbine high schoolers as well as the college-bound per the Virginia Tech and related subsequent tragedies. The instantly MTV-gratified pleasure principle somehow suppresses the fact that journalists and quote authorities endquote are free to act lustfully towards your information. When the silent presence of the telecommunications companies’ short message service (SMS) archives makes some noise (as in the 2007 criminal trial of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick whose sex text with his Chief of Staff Christine Beatty was conjured as proof of their perjury of adultery accusations), the ‘sealed’ intent – harmful or helpful – of the sigil is reiterated in a modern context. I have my own work to do, information to acquire quickly, long losts to find or acknowledge, creative offerings to share, bills to pay and better to seek from within the slivers of time clipped by my Fates. My inbox is full of quick prayers, links to holy books or verses. For the pleasure of chuckling at the (in)accuracy of the prediction, I have been known to follow my Ra through all the horoscope's signs at 11:59 p.m. Even Benedictine Monks have a web presence now, but they’ve been pretty tech-forward at large since 1994’s critically acclaimed Gregorian “Chant” CD. People thank God for the internet medium but can easily find the devil, with power and influence “of the air,” in its details. I have done both, mostly because of the efficiency boost it gave research and work mixed with those crucial times it didn’t always link me to the Earth the way it was supposed to. A dead line! Good thing I wasn't one of those seeking a hit or home from Craig’s List. But who am I gonna call to bust this ghost? Why, I’ll use my cell phone’s day minutes to dial technical support, which the films Vanilla Sky and Bruce Almighty contrastingly tried to convince
post-millennial audiences is divine. On too many occasions, after being held hostage to 10 minutes of easy listening, aimless transfers, having to repeat verification of my name-billing address-part of mama’s pre-marital magic and explain the full story twice, I spoke to “the guy next door” associate who sounded very far away only to have my concern slip through the cracks of his trusted script. “Hello?” “Yes, I can hear you. Can you hear me?” “Yes, finally! The problem is – and please don’t transfer me anymore – my internet service and digital phone aren’t working? Well, actually, the internet service comes and goes, but the phone is dead.” “You do know there were no guarantees with emergency call connection right, Ms. (screen reading pause) Thomas?” “Yes sir, I do, but what do I – ?” “So the internet service is fine, but the phone service is the problem?” “Like I told you, both need help. The phone is completely dead and the internet seems on its way. Please help.” “OK, Ms. Thomas. I am sorry for your inconvenience. Let me consult my supervisor…” “No please! That’s one of the disconnection modes. Get the supe on three-way, please sir!” “I am very sorry for your inconvenience today, Ms. Thomas. Please hold so I can better assist you.” Cue music. Two, four, six minutes... “Hello Ms. Thomas?” I stopped washing the dishes and deactivated the speakerphone. “Oh. Hi! Didn’t know if you were coming back.” “My supervisor says it appears the system was overcharging you and listed you as delinquent in payment for a while, so we disconnected. There’s also a network problem in your area. We have created a ticket for a tech to service your home between now and noon tomorrow. Please prepare to write your ticket number. It is… .” And cut! My phone time, patient mind and the lifelines I’ve made of the web and its connections were blown away for a momentary eternity. No blogging. No e-mail. No new music. No one to show me “luv” or chide my song choices and assumed voices on
MySpace; poke me, send me drinks or help tend my garden on Facebook. Without cable service, the broadcast news, TMZ and other national public volcano footage of some sort became prime fare. Woe unto the technologically staid on the day of digital TV conversion c. February 2009! Had the Hopi people’s Grandmother Spider gone through all this drama in creating her world? Force outcomes as I might, I had no choice but to be still and know that I’d done what I could as help made its way to The Palace. It wouldn't be that sweet and my tower of power is far from ivory. That just happens to be the encouraging name of my clean and comfortable ghetto abode, made taller (and more affordable, I presume) by the involuntary cap of cell phone towers. The mere thought of living among potential carcinogens in addition to those already plaguing our mass-produced foods, treated water supply and health & beauty aids is increasingly disturbing. What defenses do our less active elders, speechless babies or the many incarcerated brothers in particular have against this appendage of the invisible enemy that has already disrupted the frequencies and function of hives across the U.S.? Without the workers’ cross-pollination of our plants and flowers, the production of natural foodstuff will suffer largely, leaving us to rely even moreso on the technology behind genetically modified products. President 44 is a beacon of hope, intelligence and tenacity. Was he chosen for his ability to help free us from this catch-22 or the corporate disbelief that any One can at this point? Who will bail the people out, nourish our bodies or emerge to our aid for those times if our finances fall behind, there is a hold on food you don’t have an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip to purchase or, paraphrasing Flavor Flav, 911 starts telling jokes. Good Lord, Tech Support, please HELP! I traded my boiling “b” attitude for a quick turn to the Beatitudes, receiving “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth” linkage they pay for. With a deep breath, I bypassed the dot-com and embraced the calm of living -- to wait another day. Stay tuned…