THE SONGS WE USED TO HEAR
A slam poem by Sara Parker
The birds used to sing.
All kinds of them.
Not just the little blue ones on the screen of an iPhone.
It was not a DING,
It was a song.
There were other songs too.
Ones that our mothers used to sing,
With their off-key voices and shy smiles as they looked down at us.
We didn’t hear the music through wires though,
And we didn’t buy them.
It was back when our parents still looked at us across the dinner table,
Instead of at the television that was supposed to entertain us.
When the best things in life were free because the expensive ones just weren’t worth it.
When we still did the dishes by hand and vacuumed the floors ourselves,
But we forged relationships in person,
Face – face instead of Face – Book.
We told people we liked them by holding their hand in public,
Instead of adding a pair of initials in an Instagram bio followed by a heart.
We lose touch with our friends because they’re all behind a screen,
And we suddenly feel special and different when we aren’t the ones texting.
It’s scary to look around the room and see everyone hunched over a phone,
To stretch up to look and hear your neck crack even if you’re only fifteen years old.
We can realize for a second that we live in a robotic world,
Where technology has us by the throat,
But then that ding takes our attention again.
Because in the land of the free we are nothing but slaves to Apple and Microsoft.
But hey – they promised to make our lives easier.
To “connect” us to our loved ones across the world by isolating ourselves from those next to us.
We let the Xbox raise our children,
And blame their fragile mental state when they seek out to find a real gun,
Instead of blaming the controller in their hands that is actually controlling them,
And weaving their little brains to ones and zeroes.
Maybe there are good intentions in technology.
Maybe we can make positive change using the Internet.
But a mother’s voice is not the same through Skype,
And I can’t hear the birds over all this noise.
Notes from the authour:
I think it might be slightly ironic that I wrote a poem about the hold technology has on us on a laptop.
Or maybe it’s not. Maybe that was my intention, to complain about technology but simultaneously use it for something that is not evil at all.
Either way, it’s open to interpretation, just like all literature. There are no right or wrong answers, but I beg of you to not take the poem at face value.