Poetry Trace

Lost Connection

Jessica Patient is searching for a signal in her poem on connection in the digital age.

by Jessica Patient

 

I

Connection to my personality has been severed.
The Internet is stuck.
Chain-clicking ‘refresh.’
Error message.
I don’t know what emotion I should be feeling.
Ripped apart from chattering social networks.
Only my voice echoes inside my head.
There are spelling mistakes in my speech but I can’t correct it because there are no red squiggles under the words.
The analogue version of myself stares back at me in the reflection of my monitor.
Blotchy skin replaces pixels. I am no longer high definition.
error. Error. ERROR.
My tribe of followers have gone.

II

Deep breaths.
Supposedly there was life before the Internet.
The beginning of time started with dial-up.
Those dialling tones were sensual.
All of my memories from before Wi-Fi are fragmented.
The Wi-Fi revolution – the waves float around me. Breathing the Internet into my blood. Better than oxygen.
Gasping. I can’t catch my breath.
The humming of the computer fan cuts out. The Internet disappears into a dot.
Thudding the top of the screen.
Black hole.
Lamp flickers. Fades. Dies.
Muffled echoes of next door’s TV stops.
Silence is torture.
Pressing the ‘on’ button.
No whirling or playful beeps.
I need to reattach myself with myself.

III

Phone: full battery, no signal. Still try to dial.
‘We cannot connect your call. Please try again later.’
Stumbling in the dark.
Arms out, hoping to find something to cling onto. Trying to work out if this is reality.
Redundant cables, stretching across the room, like weeds, tripping me over.
Flip the switch in the fuse box: off, on, off, on.
Long shadows stretch up the walls.
Stuck in neutral.

IV

Unhooking the chain, peering through the gap in the front door.
Greeted by a fog of white noise.
A tentative step over the threshold.
Wading through the force field of static.
All I keep thinking: has my life support been switched off?
I don’t want to cope with real life.
Congregation of people, arms stretched, phones pointing to the sky.
A chorus of ‘please try again later.’
I join them – phone in the air, waiting for the signal bar to bring back my faith.


Jessica Patient | @jessicapatient

Jessica Patient has recently finished redrafting her novel, and is now trying to make herself sit down and write the next one. She has had several short stories published over the past few years and the links for these can be found on her blog. She lives here on the internet: www.writerslittlehelper.blogspot.com.

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