a poem for facebook friends from back when

dear readers,

facebook and twitter, myspace and gchat, all umbrellaed under the terms: “new media,” and, “social media.” recently, on facebook (one time, at band camp), i’ve been adding folks who i used to see on the  othe rside of the four square blacktop at recess in the first fucking grade. this week i’ve been facebook messaging with a girl, now mother of twin girls, who i adored for the bookishness that belied her diffuser and blond rolling curls. her fam was the first ones i knew to get this clunky new thing called the internet. that was back when having the internet = aol.

facebook is great for the networking i do now. but its breathtaking for the way it holds the map of my youth.  public school, late 80’s and early 90’s, san diego, california, military suburb called mira mesa, diverse in race and class.

one dude from high school followed his dream and is playing pro baseball, traveling the world with his beautiful wife. a couple sisters from back when have little ones and no so little one. young mothers, it seems, adore facebook in that it helps them be external, during what is but what was not meant to be, a rather lonely phase.

as a poet, i’m not sure how to honor the tide of emotion that swells each time i catch another silver fish in the glinting new media net of my childhood past. but i figured something out last night as i sat down with two students yesterday after the first day of my one nighttime class, a workshop on the supreme court. we convened under warm overhead light, faces painted with shadows, heads together around the best starbucks table on park row, the one surrounded on all sides by windows to the street because where are you in new york without eyes on the sidewalk. together, we wrote. the italian american one suggested we write about history. her/his was the history of gender fluidity and ached with foresight. the other, african american, wrote a numbered list of the times her father said, i love you. her/his piece ended with a shot to the heart pivot towards racial analysis.

me, the third, indian american, penned a three part litany, including this ode to all the childhood friends ive added and wall posted like, “wow, facebook is a trip, right? how are you!? soooo good to be back in touch.”

remember back then: for facebook friends

*

if you like it, say: go big blue!

go! big! blue!

facebook can really bring you closer to history

*

who are you now

do you see who i am now

could you ever have imagined

that you would know

a me

have been so close to me

now?

*

social media

new media

new phrases

but no real way

to describe

what its like

to click add friend

and remember back then

and recall again

*

the sweet smell of sweat

p.e. clothes and family violence

step practice and i used to love h.e.r

slamming like onyx through race relations

finding the beat of our own identities like the high school band

remember back then

and recall again

when we were all just dealing

being who we always and never

wanted to be

*

stay tuned for more from this product of the unfathomable american experiment, lol.

peace,

roopa singh


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