Talking Anywhere, Everywhere, Grey Brown

Red Canyon Petroglyph


Talking Anywhere, Everywhere


My mother would have been
so set with a cell phone,
everyone assuming
she was talking to a chum,
sharing a joke,
snapping down the street
her arms waving,
cell to ear, sweet talking.

At home
when she talked to herself,
only family could hear
and we took her aimless chatter
in stride.  But at the mall,
along downtown streets
her constant chatter
ave others pause,
they whispered,
cornered me in the gym
to say they had heard her.

My mother
might have opted
for Bluetooth
perched like a tiny angel
behind her ear,
its bright flash
as she rambled along
talking to God and the dead,
those folks who
were always home.

Grey Brown


Review by Jared Pearce

I asked several groups of young students (back in February) if they had ever received a letter or sent a letter, and none of them had done either.  I wonder, then, how strange they find it when a person walks down the road talking via cellular device, but that device is unseen.  I still find it a little weird at first.  The images in Brown’s poem delighted me because, partly, I’m a big self-talker and, partly, because people talking to themselves (or God or whomever-not-there) in public was always a sign that people had trouble (second stanza). I guess for me the poem freezes a consideration of what our culture is (that is to say, what we are) doing and what it means.


Review by Massimo Fantuzzi

I don’t know who has noticed it,
but our trades with the Other
have been a long snag since. Denounce them
will be, more than an act of respect, a plea for clemency. (from E. Montale, L’altro.)

What happens when we break the rules of engagement? The act of Talking here has been turned on its head, away from those rules and strict etiquette of punctuation and pauses. Revolt and alienation from our commonly accepted bluff of being listened to, understood, and by some sheer coincidence, being replied to contextually. Talking here has broken into a pure, uncompromised assertion which understandably leaves the bystanders stunned. Some think this is what good poetry should do.

Being a conversation with the high heavens, or a deep muttering through slums and malls, talking is what we do, talking is what we have come up with to get ourselves out of trouble or to entice followers a bit like a human equivalent of the plumage of a peacock. Technology has come to save appearances and to give us the pathetic prosthetic illusion of a live audience on the other side of our petitions: anybody other than God or the dead, or the dead Gods, anyone will do. To listen and to reply in context, which I believe is precisely what we all try to do in every issue of TCR and what makes this journal so unique. By stopping on each other’s words, reviewing, commenting or (like I do) simply adding noise to noise, we turn each other’s aimless and constant chatter into our own words, we sing from the same hymn sheet.






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