Elegy for the Person Who Used to Write My Status Updates by Colin Pope

Sweet, cherubic boy who loved a woman
SOOOOOO much it warranted
the high praise of the exclamation point,
the x’s and o’s, even an elated smiley
as though this love, this identifier of secret
property rights had itself created
a new language of written punctuation—
where has the steel falcon of your idealism
wandered? All the world
was yours to hate, yours to incite
with canonic decrees about the wonderment
of short skirts, the beauty of American Beauty.
How passionate you were! To what depths
your mind plunged for its meals! Ugh! FML!
Now there are only sad concerts in video,
a few pictures, a thumbs-up. When someone,
some other electronic politico says something
outrageously stupid, I still wait for you to jump in
and shine your floodlight of hard logic and
cool reason: what you don’t understand,
my friend, is that you’re ignorant. Oh,
how you could devastate, how the girders
and sudden colonnades of the online arena
would rise to fit your gladiatorial spirit.
But no more. The shield is under the bed,
the sword a prop for the window. Yet
I admit a slow anger, a jealousy of those
who still venture out beyond logic,
into the land of permanence where a man
could be eaten alive by a pack of sentiments
at any moment. There’s an odyssey out there,
a sandwich board of public bravery
the hot-blooded wear into knowledge
like wind into the sails of a ship. In memoriam,
under the drop-down menu of privacy settings
and job security, there’s a toggle button
that turns your bitrate coffin into a backpack
so heavy my old spine will surely break
if I care too much about any one small thing,
like you, words on a screen, the chip of a person
in a motherboard of persons, staring into light.

Colin Pope’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2012, Slate, The New York Quarterly, Texas Review, Linebreak, and The Los Angeles Review, among others. He was the 2011-12 Clark Writer-in-Residence at Texas State University, where he teaches in the English Department. He is currently poetry editor at Southwestern American Literature and lives in San Marcos, Texas with his dog, Jelly.