Something New to Write About

Sex has been around
for millions of years.
Loves lost, romances
shattered like dropped plates
and glued clumsily back together
since the start of recorded history.
Family dysfunction,
a knot in the ancestral system,
an unpleasant feeling
in the gut
as people returned home
to stare themselves
in their own old,
grizzled faces,
all that has been the mottled heart
of literature,
from cave walls
to pulpy, moth-eaten mass-market
paperbacks in the gray rack
at the five-and-dime.

It’s a good thing
Prometheus returned
with a laptop under each arm.
Moses back from the mountaintop
with tablets for everyone.
Now writers finally have something new
to write about.

They can write about
how I found out you were seeing someone
you met online by searching through a browser history
full of octopi, the best way to cook a steak,
and a long-form article
about symbolism
in the works of Stanley Kubrick.

I called my mother from my cell phone
while waiting for the light rail
and told her what I had found
in the wake of webpages you went to.
She could only hear
the ringing of the bells
and the full flush of air
pushed by the front of the approaching train.
I tried to tell her again,
not about the octopus or the steak
but the intimate messages;
our signal got dropped
as I stepped onto the train.

I spent the evening in eleven different bars,
drifting from one to the next,
looking at the warm glow
of everyone interfacing.
I imagined you interfacing
without me,
my gin and tonic clear and lucid,
the ice cubes
reminding me of your laptop screen
in the morning light.

I shared a cab with a coworker
who met me on the sidewalk.
She had followed my trail
of woeful posts
and placed herself at the intersection
of carefully manicured coincidence and decision.
We took the cab to her house
and spent the night together,
watching the first two seasons
of a judicial drama
in which the magistrate
is also Jack the Ripper,
stopping only once to check our email.

And so it turns out that nothing has really changed –
sex, romance, love, family,
they’re all still the pits
of the fruit we chew on,
rolling the hard nuts between our molars,
trying unsuccessfully to crack them open.