A Phoney Essential by Vidya Shankar

I clutch the phone,
Tap some buttons,
Flip screens,
For nothing in particular.
I clutch the phone,
Not as if one would something precious,
(Yes, there is a monetary price on the phone,
Though not on the resale),
But I clutch as one would
An undesirable essential
Of assumed utilization,
Caught in the conflict
Between keeping and discarding,
Not dissimilar to the questions that arise
When clearing out clutter,
For, what my phone contains
Is often a far cry from valuable.
The forwards don’t interest me,
The notifications are mostly irrelevant.
Maybe calls? Isn’t that what
Telephones originally were meant for?
But if I expected the phone
To ring in a call or two,
Then no greater fool can there ever be,
For, who would ever want to talk to a poet
Often submerged in her own thoughts,
Ignoring or silencing the ringtone
On those few occasions when it did play?
Didn’t she deserve to be ignored too?
                          But, oh! haven’t I been pleased
                          With the elusive calls?
                          With the avoidance?
                          With this not having to talk
                          Of things mundane that’s but intrusion                        
                          A ticking away of invaluable seconds
                          Of poetic time?
                          Ah, this poet, she belongs
                          Not of this world, but in her own space,
                          At home with her words,
                          All by herself —
I still clutch the phone,  
Not to search anymore, for it tires me;
Nor to flip screens, for it fatigues my eyes.
I clutch the phone for a few lingering moments,
Then turn it off and cast it away gladly,
And alone, perhaps, but happily dreamy-eyed,
I slip into my zone with ease,
My own space of creative pondering,
Carrying on with my priceless quest
That’s only a poet’s to go on
F O R W A R D.

Vidya Shankar is a poet; the author of The Flautist of Brindaranyam (in collaboration with photographer husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan) and The Rise of Yogamaya; is a “book” in the Human Library; an editor at Kavya-Adisakrit.

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