Jonathan ROBIN (22 September / London)
A[r]mour Plating Online Dating after William Shakespeare Jacques Seven Ages of Man - As You Like it
All their world’s a page,
and all the players Internet addicted,
they have their pseudos, resumés, some avatars,
each actor for a time plays many parts,
cont[r]acts enacting seven stages.
At first computer,
with WINDOWS' bugs well hid in viral links.
And then the neophyte’s instruction manual,
and wide-eyed eager face, googling some site
so willingly to screen. Then follows practice,
with MAIL, TRASH, SPAM and FORWARD, shortcuts everywhere,
colliding in his brain with mistress’ eyebrow,
the fantasies and fictions of the game
tied to an IP number’s trace race chase.
Then the user, sudden and quick to answer;
seeking ever new experience
even in deception’s mouth. And then the addict
rejoicing in his bandwidth always on,
weary eyed a-seeking Second Life,
or You Tube, Facebook, Meetic dating quest,
full of wise ways and easy answerings,
heedless of phishing, firewall disrepair,
and so he plays his part.
The sixth stage shifts
into the bored and blasé demi-loon,
with carnet for his prose, and instant message rote,
whose self assessments leave what friends remain
at sea when he some siren seeks to trap,
attention span a-waste, webworld too wide
for his shrunk purse, and his high manly hopes
betrayed by longings, dreams and discontent,
discretion all at sea.
Last stage of all
that ends this strange eventful history
is deconnection and mere oblivion,
where online search can’t google happiness,
CONTROL ALT SUP still failing to reboot,
sans screen, sans time, sans reason, rhyme, sans everything.
Round world's flat screen, we mean all IP layers,
AP men, women, merely playing payers,
whose passwords, logins, mask their lonely hearts
and when online each plays so many parts,
their contActs spanning seven stages.
One on this page attracts consideration,
'tis that contesting woeful single station
attempting to unite two souls to whole
in harmony. Bells turn to tocsin toll
less holy seeming than when bridal white
December turned to May, drew day from night
for knight and maiden, spinning down black hole
illusions which rich future vowed. Control
too lax, too strict, turns consternation
as high ideals by poor deal alteracation
cuts ground beneath feet walking on hot coal,
tried by Time's steal, reach beached on turmoil's shoal.
Whether by Nature well or poor endowed
enthusiasm finds itself too cowed,
bellweather reputations are sustained
to keep hope's end up, rumour’s buzz maintained
by Cialis, Viagra, compensation
anticipating faint heart's compensation
drawn from vagina dildo dispensation
urges merge surge experiencing sensation
as soon perceived as waned, trust held in fee
by devil's advocate's plea, once allowed,
proud pennant dips perplexlingly, down bowed.
One wonders if attraction offers clues
to questions, answers, existential lure,
both waiting in gestation to refuse,
accept, delay, pay, play as sinecure.
Is fantasy what we affection name
as love which hand in glove with need sounds sweet,
attenuates life’s jungle’s ruthless game,
and tints the lover’s glasses lest we cheat
Death’s threats through disillusion premature.
Destiny's spun thread sped Time must cut
for reasons which to mortals seem obscure,
which fit in puzzle pattern's piecemeal rut
to knit tomorrows which mature too fast
as all at last acknowledge naught can last.
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