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Poetry in the Age of Information Overload by Allyson Whipple

Today you show the world what you wore to work

say something passive-aggressive

believe you’ll get your entire house clean

tell a lie

show the world your new decorations

believe you’ll reach your goal weight

say you are heartbroken about the tragedy you have half-forgotten

believe that the president will be impeached

show the world your dog is just as frisky as yesterday

find a Pinterest article about how to stop living paycheck to paycheck

show the world every crumb of everything you ate

believe you are on the verge of witnessing the apocalypse

show the world what you drank

recount the exact amount you consumed

say that tomorrow you’ll regret how much you drank

feel guilty for how much you ate

believe that tomorrow you’ll stop procrastinating

say you’re blessed

feel like a failure

believe you will write a poem

say something that didn’t need to be said

show the world the stack of books you’ll get around to reading someday

say you’re grateful

believe you’ll swipe right on the love of your life

show the world an off-center snapshot of your illegible work-in-progress

believe you can write another book

show the world how your bathroom tile shines

believe you’ll be able to concentrate for more than five minutes.

Today New Zealand courts ruled that Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the United States

Kraft dropped its bid to buy Unilever

a celebrity posted a nude selfie, deleted it, then reposted it

Greece’s bailout is on shaky grounds again

Iraqi forces are advancing on Mosul

Russia promised a ceasefire in Ukraine

the Gambia finally swore in its new president

China banned coal imports from North Korea for the rest of the year.

Today you write, except you stop when you feel guilty about ignoring your dog

turn from the page to the news scrolling along the bottom of the TV

remember that the toilet is dirty

turn from the page to an after-hours work email

forget everything you dreamed you were going to say

turn from the page to your phone to see what other poets are wearing and drinking

keep making excuses why this poem shouldn’t be a priority

turn from the page to the computer screen just in case you’re missing out on something

stop because you’re tired and have to get up early in the morning

you don’t like anything you planned to say.


The Author

Allyson Whipple believes that writing, walking, meditation, and rest have the capacity to heal. She teaches at Austin Community College and is the author of two chapbooks. Allyson holds an MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Allyson Whipple

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