Missing Out by Ally Malinenko

The Times like to publish articles
about how we’re all addicted to our phones
to our little digital lives
in which we are the reigning kings and queens.
The Times likes to talk about how we’re all afraid
that what is happening on that little screen
is somehow better than what is happening here.

That we are missing out on a life that is better than one we are actively living.

And that is mostly the reason why I don’t have one.
I’m terrified of the internet
of the world that exists there
especially for people who try to make things.
That your life could be siphoned down to
a clawing need for the universe to offer you a food pellet
a small bit of ego-stroking for a job
quasi-well done.

What if the last thing I do before the blood clot hits my brain is stare at that blue screen?

Can you imagine anything more terrifying?
I could have been taking in that indie film I swore I was going to see.
Or browsing my favorite bookstore.
I could have been alone on a park bench
seeing the world
not just briefly noting and sharing
clicking and uploading
the way I see people do at the museum,
as they pause at each painting
to photograph it and then look at the miniaturized pixelated version of art
No, but instead be on that bench really seeing it
the squirrel’s fearlessness
the dead leaves that never decay
the buzzing chatter of a planet bursting with life
and my small meaningless place in it.
The stupidly small time we have.

I could have been skinny dipping.
I could have been fucking.
I could have been riding a subway
struck dumb by the beautiful boy across the car.

I’m afraid if I close my eyes for one second, I’ll miss it.
That is the only missing out I can understand.


Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone and How to Be An American (Six Gallery Press) as well as the novel This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books). She has a poetry collection forthcoming from Lowghost Press entitled Better Luck Next Year.

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