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The Phones
Paul Buchheit

(with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe)

Phones, phones, phones,
See the people with their phones,
Silver, pink and paisley phones,
On the subways and the buses and the sidewalks, all alone,
Lost in intimate exchanges with their phones, phones, phones.

Hear the murmuring of phones,
In their muffled monotones,
Feel the muted tremulations, like the buzzing of the drones,
Hear the pinging and the dinging of the phones.

Passing time, time, time,
In a strange robotic rhyme,
With the tintinnabulation of the tones, tones, tones,
All the people look the same to me, like clones, clones, clones.

See the driver with the phone,
How it chills you to the bone,
See a world of seven billion navigating all alone,
Through the secret sibilations of the phone, phone, phone, phone, phone, phone, phone.

This poem first appeared in The Society of Classical Poets Journal (May 19, 2021).
Used here with permission.


Paul Buchheit is a retired college teacher who lives in Chicago, Illinois. His poems, essays, and articles have appeared in various journals and he is the author of two books: an historical novel, 1871: Rivers on Fire, and a nonfiction book, Disposable Americans (Routledge, 2017).


Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
How true!
Posted 04/29/2022 10:15 AM
Well done! Both amusing.& disturbing. And, yes, I am typing this on my mini-computer ;)
Posted 04/26/2022 12:53 PM
Love this, Paul. How true it is.
Posted 04/25/2022 11:42 PM
So sad but so true! Very creative and timely
Posted 04/25/2022 11:41 PM
Lori Levy:
So true. Well done.
Posted 04/25/2022 02:39 PM
See the people with their phones in this strange robotic rhyme looking the like clones, clones, clones with their phones, phones, phones. Clever and sad that it is quite true. Congrats on this poem, Paul!
Posted 04/25/2022 02:20 PM
This is the perfect update of Poe's poem, and a perfect work in its own right!
Posted 04/25/2022 12:23 PM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I loved this clever, chilling, relatable poem. I liked the repetition of the words tone, clone, phone to help sink in the reality. I do find cell phones helpful to summon my husband when we get separated but I prefer talking in person to texting.
Posted 04/25/2022 09:28 AM
Great modeling!
Posted 04/25/2022 09:13 AM
Darrell Arnold:
Wow. Incredible. I love it. Tremulations, Tintinnabulation, sibilations, pink and paisley, pinging and dinging. So many great phrases and words. Clever. Brilliant. I am jealous.
Posted 04/25/2022 09:05 AM
Wonderful! Just wish it werent so true.
Posted 04/25/2022 08:55 AM
Gilbert Allen:
Delightfully funny and distressingly true!
Posted 04/25/2022 08:49 AM
Provocative Paul! All of us need to think about the impact of anything as universal as cell phones. Thank you.
Posted 04/25/2022 08:44 AM
agree with Larry below
Posted 04/25/2022 08:43 AM
I love this!!! The world has never been so connected and yet so alone!!! I love the message!!
Posted 04/25/2022 08:29 AM
A perfect modern homage to Poe!!
Posted 04/25/2022 07:53 AM
Larry Schug:
I'd say, with apologies to no one! Good old rhyme and repetition, along with its message, make for a fine poem.
Posted 04/25/2022 06:55 AM

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