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See YouTube video
of Kuypers reading this piece in the live show the Janet Kuypers with the music of HA! at Chicago’s Gallery Cabaret 20121003 (Canon)
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See YouTube video
of Kuypers reading part of this piece in the live show the Janet Kuypers with the music of HA! at Chicago’s Gallery Cabaret 20121003 (Kodak)
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See YouTube video
of the Janet Kuypers with the music of HA! full live show at Gallery Cabaret in Chicago 20121003 (Canon), including this piece
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See YouTube video
of most of the Janet Kuypers with the music of HA! full live show at Gallery Cabaret in Chicago 20121003 (Kodak) including this piece
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See YouTube video
of Kuypers reading most of this piece in the live show the Janet Kuypers with the music of HA! at Chicago’s Gallery Cabaret 20121003 (Samsung)
video See YouTube video 3/21/17 for World Poetry Day of Janet Kuypers’ “Lengthy World Poems on World Poetry Day” at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “Freedom just past the Fence”, “My Kind of Town”, “Been a World Leader”, “Enough’s Enough”, “The Little Differences” and an edited “Communication 2012” (Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video See YouTube video 3/21/17 for World Poetry Day of Janet Kuypers’ “Lengthy World Poems on World Poetry Day” at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “Freedom just past the Fence”, “My Kind of Town”, “Been a World Leader”, “Enough’s Enough”, “The Little Differences” and an edited “Communication 2012” (Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).

Communication 2012

Janet Kuypers
with verses from “Communication” (1997) and “Communication ‘05”
written 6/18/12 (Tagalog and Serbian added 9/9/12,
Afrikaans added 9/12/12, further edited 9/13/12)

Now that we have the information superhighway
we can throw out into the open
our screams,
our cries for help,
so much faster than we could before...

But what if we don’t want to communicate,
or forget how?
Too busy leaving messages, voice mails,
emails, pager numbers...
forgetting to call back.

What if we forget
how to communicate?

#

When I was young
I felt like the world was the size of a thimble,
because all I needed to know
was my back yard when I played with my neighbor,
and I know I wasn’t allowed to ride my bike far,
though when I collected enough change
I’d ride my bike all the way
to my local ice ream parlour.

Once I was on my own,
commuting to my Chicago job on the “L” train,
I suddenly felt as tiny as a dot in this Universe,
crammed in like sardines in an “L” train tin can,
saving money for a road trip to Omaha, Nebraska.
The idea of buying a brie sandwich
to eat at a street-side table in Paris,
or skipping the nesting dolls for a balalika in Russia,
or photographing a finch in flight on the Galapagos Islands,
these dreams seriously seemed a solar system away.

But as time wore on, I learned
I could get myself out to the world
through the Internet —
being a magazine editor, I now interact
with people from the U.S., Canada, England,
Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Norway, Japan,
Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey,
India, Israel, Pakistan, Iran...

While selling photography sittings at my job
I’ve had to learn more Spanish as well...
and the last time I sang my song “What We Need in Life” live,
I wanted to try to sing it in other lanuages...
G translated it into Español:
“que necesitamos en la vida...”
Nate translated it into German:
“was wir auf das Leben brauchen...”
Karina even explained how to sing it in Romanian:
“ceea ce avem nevoie în viaţă...”
Since then, Renate taught me What We Need In Life in Polish:
“Co potrzelujemy w zyciu...”
Irma, from the Phillipines, even translated it
into Tagalog for me:
“Mga Kailangang ispiritwal sa buhay...”
And the open mic I now host,
because Baci sponsored it’s location
at both Café Aloha and the Café for fifteen years,
I had to beg Igor for the translation into Serbian:
“Ono što mi treba u životu...”
And you know, looking at this planet,
I think that if you could shoot an arrow
through this planet from the United States,
you’d get to the waters east of South Africa...
So Francois translated and Rozanne sang it in Afrikaans:
“Wat ons in die lewe nodig het...”
Because really,
now that I’m dipping my foot
into the global wading pool,
I should really learn
how to communicate a little better.

#

Because now that we have the information superhighway
we can throw out into the open
our screams,
our cries for help,
so much faster than we could before...

Our pleas become computer blips,
tiny bits of energy,
traveling through razor thin wires,
traveling through space —

to be left for someone to decipher
when they find the time.

#

Over the years
I traveled around the country
and instant messaged from my laptop
when I was at Denver’s Netherworld Cafe,
or Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans,
or C Ra’s Penny Dreadful House in Nashville,
or at the National Poetry Slam in Albuquerque.
And I have a cell phone
that I use only occasionally to call people —
and that phone has a camera,
but I don’t bother to use it —
I mean, that’s what I have a camera for...

And with phones that are cameras
and can upload your pictures to facebook,
all I can think
is that it has to be insanely confusing
to teach a small child
about the realities of the world
in this modern age —
because when the cell phone rings
and mommy says to little Susie,
“It’s Grandma! Say hello to grandma!”
Does this little girl
think this inanimate object
gave birth to her mother?
And when she figures out
what a phone is,
little Susie still has to come to grips
with some phones
also being like an office computer,
or also being a camera,
you know, like the one
that her grandfather uses
at all the family get-togethers...
I mean, maybe Susie is young enough
to fit all the little pieces together,
but I still prefer
a camera that feels like a camera,
with a better lens and better resolution,
separate from a computer
or a phone, that feels like a phone.

#

Because now that we have the information superhighway
we can throw out into the open
our screams, our cries for help,
so much faster than we could before...

People want to instant message,
people buy their name as a domain name.
People text each other to communicate...
People get e-mail accounts,
people set up web pages...

And you know, I got a cell phone.
I’ve got a land line.
But my phone isn’t ringing off the hook.

It’s like I’ve gone fishing,
sat on the boat on a lake,
put out the bait...

And no one’s biting.

#

I wanted to get in touch
with an old friend of mine from high school,
Vince, and the last I heard was that he went to
Marquette University. But that was years ago,
he could be anywhere.
I talked to a friend or two that
knew him, but they lost touch with him, too.
So I searched on the Internet,
to see if his name was on a website
or if he had an email address. He didn’t.
So I figured I probably wouldn’t find him.
And all this time, I knew his parents probably lived
in the same house they always did, I could just
look up his parent’s phone number and call them,
say I’m an old high school friend of Vince’s,
but I never did.
And then I realized why.

You see, I could search the Internet for hours
and no one would know
that I was looking for someone.
But now, with a single phone call,
I’d make it known to his entire family
that I wanted to see him enough to call,
after all these years. And I didn’t want
him to know that. So I never called.

#

Because now that we have the information superhighway
we can throw out into the open
our screams,
our cries for help,
so much faster than we could before.

But then the question begs itself:
who
is there
to listen?


Copyright © Janet Kuypers.

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