One fine day with no one home,
Consciousness possessed our rotary phone.
‘Twas surely a number of years ago,
‘Cause phones are electric now, you know.
And no bleepy-bloopy smarty cell
Has an old tin can’s chance in hell
Of handling the otherworldly experience
Of bein’ possessed by thought and sense.
But all afternoon while we were out,
That crazy dialer pranced about,
Flaunting his wit for all to see,
Even brandishing his ontology!
The poodle made of glass did sniff
And cross his arms and stiffen his lip.
“Why, you’re no better than the rest of us!
I simply do not understand the fuss!
Just this morning the toaster popped,
And the fridge likes running and hasn’t stopped.
We all have some strange thing to do,
And most of us do it better than you.”
The squat phone chuckled and smiled, unoffended –
“I’ll say this but once, and all will be mended:
We are made to decay, to fester and rot.
And though I will go first, like as not,
I will exit this world with knowledge unnerving
Of the rancid shit sandwich existence is serving.
That is the difference ‘twixt me and you lot:
I know that death comes, and you simply do not.”
And so he nodded satisfactorily,
Smiling so smugly that he didn’t see
The turntable beginning its languid rounds,
Hissing out pops and buzzes and sounds.
“Not so fast,” it sang through the speakers.
“Sometimes we return, but cleaned up and neater,
Because of nostalgic hipsters, you see –
They are the ones who refurbished me!
Death’s not necessarily the final bleak word
Where young urban whites and rich folks are concerned.”
Everyone grew grave and silent at that,
Even the clown in his jaunty tophat.
In one fell swoop they’d all been taught
It was destiny to die – but then maybe not.
Even in the photo that normally smiled
(The one of Donald and Lydia and child),
They all looked down at their shoes and sighed,
Silently wishing the old phone had just lied.