A few years back, the start of my school year was interrupted by jury duty. Rather than welcoming students back to the study of Advanced Placement English or British Literature after another seemingly-too-short summer (I know, I shouldn’t complain), I spent my days weighing the evidence in a civil court case. In all, I only lost about a week of school, but gained a greater appreciation for our justice system. If you get the chance to serve, you should. It’s not the nightmare that some television shows paint it to be.
On the daily twenty-minute commute between the courthouse and my home, I started to notice the faces of the people in the cars traveling in the opposite direction. My usual commute to work being five minutes (or less), I never took the time to notice faces (also, isn’t that a bit nosy and generally unsafe? ). In this high-speed people watching, I noticed how few cars had more than one person inside. So many people traveling all alone, likely to work, perhaps to spend the day sequestered in office cubicles in front of a computer screen. Solitary digits doing solitary jobs. Such loneliness. (Ah! Bartleby! Ah! Humanity!)
The poem is titled “Loneliness,” but rather than using the letters that make up the word, I chose to represent the title in the binary alphabet, a silent nod to the isolation that occurs in the guise of progress and through many forms of social media. As much as I love the ability to post my thoughts and poetry online so that anyone with internet access around the world can read them, it’s not the same as sharing around the table with close friends over a cup of coffee, or a good pint of ale if you’re fond of the Inklings. Oh, for less of these wireless lives!
01101100 01101111 01101110 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100101 01110011 01110011
Vincent H. Anastasi - 2015 On this rushed commute to the courthouse, Thursday morning, I am struck by the stoic faces passing me at sixty or seventy miles per hour more forcibly than steel on steel — crumpled, twisted wrecks backing up for miles on the metaphorical interstate of life — these fleeting isolated binary digits cut adrift wireless, if you will, untethered traveling to any number of provisional places; And I am struck by this loneliness driving by myself a 0 or 1, depending on the day, passing cars passing homes passing cemeteries; And I wonder what could we create if our lives collided under the tectonic force of relationships - risky, inexpedient, laborious, but abundant in recompense for the weight of loneliness: these wireless lives.