Friday, February 21, 2014

Poem of the Week: Sheila Black

"My Mission is to Surprise and Delight" 
My daughter works in the Apple Store--the Help Center, open 24-7,
people from all fifty states, angry because their iPhones
malfunctioned or they don't know how to program their data
plans. She practices sounding knowledgeable yet ditzy; mysterious
yet lucid, and able to reassure. She has never been ranked down for
a "bad conversation, " and they rate every call. Some of the kids
lose it--the ones who get fired." A bit better than minimum.wage,
but not much. "You get addicted to the notion-what would it
mean to be the perfect Apple helper every time?" They reward.her
with T-shirts. "You are the Future!" in a pretty Apple box. And
letters signed "Apple." "We know you have dreams. We know
you are the one we have been waiting for." They have taken
over the Wells Fargo Bank building downtown, a row of white
Apple cubicles made of slick plastic-beautifully designed. Steve
Jobs said "simplicity takes effort." He said "Apple is for the
person with the unique mind." After work, my daughter and her
co-workers bend over their iPhones, When I say "rosemary,"
my daughter Googles a picture of it. Her latest t-shirt bears the slogan
"My mission is to surprise and delight." This annoys her faintly.
"How can I wear it outside the Apple Help Center?" she asks. "Apple
loves you," says the latest letter. I want to say "You, Steve Jobs, did
not invent a machine alone. No you, Steve Jobs, invented a new
form of loneliness. No wonder you were not able to live forever.
The body has to get its own back somehow. How you have.separated
each from each, self from self, the anti-parable in which
all breads and loves become as one. The silver apple, which
will never be edible, will never be baked into any kind of pie."
I ask my daughter how she does it-eight hours, call after call,
and everyone angry, or sad, or simply frustrated. "I never speak
as myself," she replies, "but as Phone Girl." Phone Girl has no
past, no present, no family. Phone girl is all light and longing.
She is only a voice, and a voice can be anything." My daughter
holds out her hands, "She is a light you can see straight through."

-Sheila Black

Used by permission.

Sheila Black is the author of House of Bone, Love/Iraq (both CW Press) and Wen Kroy (Dream Horse Press) which won the Orphic Prize in Poetry. She co-edited with Jennifer Bartlett and Mike Northen Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (Cinco Puntos Press), named a Notable Book for Adults for 2012 by the American Library Association (ALA). She has received the Frost-Pellicer Frontera Award and was a 2012 Witter Bynner Fellow selected by Philip Levine. She lives in San Antonio, Texas where she directs the literary arts center Gemini Ink.  

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Keith M. Bender said...

There once was a Clothing Outlet that Sold Returns and OverRuns as well as End of Season items at "Great Discounts".
The Owner Spokesman would say that "An Educated Consumer is our best customer". And "Educated Consumers"
shopped for great deals That made them feel smart and Important.

Somehow Saving Money justified the impulse to buy that everyone learned growing up in an abundant society. What once were People turned into "Consumers" who all wanted a bite of the Apple.

The Apple was created by a guy named Steve and his friend "Woz".
They named it Apple because it supplied an abundant stream of knowledge once things called "programs" were made.But that Woz a long time ago.

Seeing how important the "Programs were going to be while Steve and Woz were still playing machines ,a guy put up all sorts of Gates and Blocked the flow of knowledge until everyone paid a toll a the Bill woz paid. But that was a long time ago as well.

Steve's Job was to make Computers called Apple's that appealed to people who needed to feel smart. Just like that Clothe's guy he figured that they would be happy paying twice as much for their Apple once he got the size down to that of an Apple. When it would fit in the Palm of their hands. And he wOz right.

Make the Consumer feel special and they will fall all over themselves to Pay Double . Just hire People to talk with these special People
and hear their complaints and they will bond for life.What a magical idea Even People who can not afford the Apple could still listen.

Today Programs are called Apps as like Apples which take you to the Apple of your eye. The special something in the Right Now that satisfies that need to feel special. Words are still as magical today as they were 5,000 years ago when Sumerians began trading with far away lands.

The Other Laura said...

So much beauty in this poem but the glittering truth of "The body has to get its own back somehow." is what I'm keeping for today.

Lovely, Sheila!