The POTW: Verse Til It Hurts


POTW #776
(Week of 11 September, 2011)

As I was writing this week's poem, the third line caused me to begin thinking about the basic unit size of communication between humans, and how it seems to be shrinking. Technology gives us more frequent contact with more people, meaning we have to use shorter formats and distill meaning down further and further if we want to say anything at all, Twitter being an excellent symptomatic example, advertising being another. I'm tempted to think of it as a sort of poetry, though that would be, in my opinion, rather generous in most cases.

And I'd really like to acknowledge this aspect of modern communication by starting a service even more streamlined than Twitter, cutting the maximum message size down to, say, nine characters*, in order to eliminate the chaff in those chatty tweets and constrain things to their most elemental meaning, to more of a grunt. Early humans (at least as portrayed in films) had it right, they efficiently said what needed saying without a lot of extra bother, and it seems we may be headed back in that direction. I note with disappointment that the domain name "" is already in use by something less interesting.

The Big Grunt

Now everyone can talk at once
And isn't that a boon
A flood of brief expressive grunts
A mass percussive tune
A million billion bouncing balls
The ceaseless roar of human surf
A throaty primal mating call
The sound of the voice of the Earth
A staggering conversation cloud
Of instant global words
Where everything is said out loud
And nothing much is heard

Copyright © 2011 by Dave Grossman

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