The Telephone by Louis Jenkins

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The Telephone by Louis Jenkins

Post by BC Williams on Thu 22 Apr 2010, 2:37 pm

............................The Telephone

.................................
............................by Louis Jenkins

...........In the old days telephones were made of
...........rhinoceros tusk and were big and heavy enough
...........to be used to fight off an intruder. The telephone
...........had a special place in the front hallway, a shrine
...........built into the wall, a niche previously occupied
...........by the blessed virgin, and when the phone
...........rang it was serious business. "Hello." "One if
...........by land and two if by sea." "What?" "Unto you
...........a child is born." "What?" "What did he say?"
..........."Something about the Chalmers' barn." The
...........voice was carried by a single strand of bare wire
...........running from coast to coast, wrapped around a
...........Coke bottle stuck on a tree branch, dipping low
...........over the swamp, it was the party line, all your
...........neighbors in a row, out one ear and in another.
..........."We have a bad connection, I'm having trouble
...........understanding you."

...........Nowadays telephones are made of recycled
...........plastic bags and have multiplied to the point
...........where they have become a major nuisance.
...........The point might ring at you from anywhere, the
...........car, the bathroom, under the couch cushions...
...........Everyone hates the telephone. No one uses the
...........telephone anymore so telephones, out of habit
...........or boredom or loneliness perhaps, call one
...........another. "Please leave a message at the tone."
..........."I'm sorry, this is a courtesy call. We'll call back at
...........a more convenient time. There is no message."

........... "The Telephone" by Louis Jenkins from Before You Know It: Prose Poems 1970-2005.
........... Will O' the Wisp Books, 2009.

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