Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Quiet World - Jeffrey McDaniel

In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred  
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear  
without saying hello. In the restaurant  
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,  
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.  
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,  
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line  
and listen to each other breathe.

Jeffrey McDaniel, “The Quiet World” from The Forgiveness Parade. (Manic D Press, 1998)

1 comment:

  1. For some reason your poem reminded me of the book, 1984, by George Orwell. Probably something to do with the theme of government control. There is a lot to worry about with the freedom of speech stuff lately. Especially after the shootings in Paris.