Treasure Island

Jonathan ROBIN

(22 September / London)

Minitel after William Shakespeare Jacques Seven Ages of Man


All their world's a page,
and all the players minitel-mad players,
they have their résumés, their pseudonyms,
each actor for a time plays many parts,
his acts taking seven stages. At first equipment,
fresh ordered from the Poste, in welcome arms.
And then the neophyte with his instructions
and wide-eyed eager face, tapping the code
so willingly to screen. And then the practice,
with SUITE, ENVOI, RETOUR and REPETITION
colliding in his brain with mistress' eyebrow,
the fantasies and fictions of the game.
Then the user, sudden and quick to answer;
seeking ever new experience
even in deception's mouth. And then the addict
dialling sans respite 3-6-1-5.
With weary eyes ere telephones are cut,
full of wise ways and easy answerings.
And so he plays his part. The sixth stage shifts
into the bored and blasé demi-loon,
with carnet for his prose, spare telephone at side,
his coins once saved a-waste, the world too wide
for his shrunk purse, and his high manly hopes
turned against his longings, imagination
canting, all at sea. Last stage of all
that ends this strange eventful history
is deconnection and mere oblivion,
sans phone, sans sous, sans job, sans everything.

(1 June 1987)

Submitted: Thursday, June 07, 2012

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