Standby

Sometimes modern life just doesn’t stop, we always have to be doing rather than being. This poem comes out of that. Max photographed here is really busy, runs and runs, but he knows when to stop!
Max – photographed 2009

My old television
Had a big old switch
On and off
With a clunk
My new one has
Standby

No switch
Just a button
Touch sensitive
And a little red light
It doesn’t ever really turn off
It’s ready
For my instant need
For entertainment, for news
To fill an empty moment
I can’t wait a few seconds
It’s on standby
Go on
Touch the button

My new computer sleeps
The screen goes blank
The disk winds down
And parks
But a little red light
Flashes
And then
Touch the button
It bursts into life
Back where it left off
Not asleep
Its on standby
Go on
Touch the button

This is the modern way
Life at the ready
On 24-7 watch
Don’t stop
Don’t go to sleep
When I close my eyes
The world keeps going
The world might pass me by
The world never stops
I wouldn’t want to be
Left behind
In a thoroughly
Modern rush

I don’t really sleep anymore
I close my eyes
Lie quiet
I might snore
But I‘m not asleep
I’m ready to jump up
At the drop of a hat
The bark of a dog
The rattle of the wind
The ring of the alarm
Not asleep
I’m on standby
Go on
Touch the button

I don’t have a little
Red light
I don’t need my own little
Red light
I’m surrounded by them
They’re inside my head
Glowing
Flickering
Light emitting synapses
At the edge
Ready to go
Not asleep
I’m on standby
Go on
Touch the button

And if I finish my days
In a hospital bed
Plugged-in
Connected
Then
When my little red lights go out
I won’t be dead
Resting in peace
Not dead
On standby
Go on
Touch the bloody button