If you want to know who died, visit Facebook.
Apparently, news prefers socially networking sites to telephone lines or knocks on doors or even letters in the mail (which is becoming an extinct gesture).
At a reading of poetry and memorializing, I learn of someone’s recent death. Apparently, when you unplug from one outlet, a fire breaks out, burning the ability to hear about such things.
When I die, I do not not NOT want to be a Facebook post.
I want a pigeon to
break into my home fly through the vacant space from an open window in my bedroom or kitchen. If I had time to prepare, perhaps there would be a plate of barley for it to feast on before finding me beneath a pile of language (poems). There may be blood or just invisible deflated breaths all around me. After gorging on grains, the pigeon will study me for awhile, make sure it understands my story, the summary of my final moments. It may even snip off a strand or two of my hair with its beak. Then, this pigeon will fly toward the ones who matter. The ones who called me just because it was a Tuesday not because it was my birthday or because it was their’s. The ones who loved me. The ones I poemed with. The ones who knew why I ran away so much.
You will not need internet access to hear of my news. You will not need to be on Facebook to find out about my death. Maybe it will be mentioned in a newspaper, but you don’t need to have a subscription or even be literate. Just wait and the pigeon will reach you.
Ways to connect to find out to deliver news in my lifetime have ranged from: pen pals to walkie talkies to tangled and coiled telephones connected to walls to cordless phones with extra channels to overhear nearby conversations to chat rooms to beepers to cell phones to skype’ing to gossip to computer screen stalking.
The thing is, I have this tiny book, which holds my stamps because I much prefer writing letters to seeing your six-packed torso stamped on computer screens. How can we bridge the gap from those who wish to unplug but still be aware of the life outside windows to the ones who’s bodies have become flesh-covered outlets never without a built-in personal assistant, GPS navigation, and high-speed Internet.
For now, I guess I will just be the last to know things. Or maybe I need to ask more questions or read more newspapers or just be around people more. Sometimes I do miss the photographs, the narcissistic boasting, the slices of poetry and analyzed political protests that are constantly fed to these social networks. But I can also walk outside and see this too. Out loud. Wearing lungs and sweaters, rather than (not so hidden) advertisements.