A poem in collaboration with the Motorola Droid Turbo 2
Torchbearers, youngsters: tone-deaf.
Foolhardily reversible tobacconists rarefied insidiousness.
Inclusiveness & creditability: extern teenyboppers, yourselves.
Aluminizing toucan engineered associateship.
Zero-rated introductory fighter-bombers onboard abandonments.
Thematically, currently flexibility –
invulnerability – balancedness.
Interested, nonsensical forklifts?
(Ancestrally anecdotic disclaimer.)
Poet’s Statement: I purchased my first smartphone in May of 2016 at the age of 26. Before that it was flip-phones all the way down to seventh grade. It has been a learning experience. (Meaning the smartphone.)
Today, I tried to teach myself how to use the predictive text Swype keyboard – the one where you never lift your finger from the screen except to separate words. At first, I didn’t know that you had to lift your finger to separate words. I thought you just slid your finger to the spacebar. This resulted in all sorts of surprising errors. (I.e., I tried to type “Dear Francesca,” and it came out as “Desecrated.”)
Eventually, I picked up on the “lift finger, new word” function. But not without realizing that purposely abusing the Swype keyboard could result in some wild technopoetry.
I ran the text of a credit card offer through the Swype keyboard using the purposely abusive method. In practice, that meant trying to type two or three words in one go, sans finger-lift. The result is the text you see above. I added line breaks and punctuation to the raw text (and an ampersand, but I’m counting that as punctuation because it is a non-alphanumeric symbol) in an attempt to draw out as much semantic meaning as possible while leaving the poetic meaning intact.
I think it is important to note that the poem was the result of misusing the Swype keyboard. Technology drives ceaselessly toward increased efficiency. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but a totally efficient life is my least favorite kind of life. I wanted to show my smartphone the thrill of an inefficient life. So much the better that my smartphone learned how to write poetry in the process. After all, the words I ended up with were generated by the Swype software’s predictive text and error-correcting functionalities; I only spurred it to act, the way everyday occurrences spur poets to act. On these grounds, I’d argue that the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 deserves at least coauthor status. Or maybe it’s the author and I’m its editor.
There are a few serendipitous instances where the commercial-financial language of the credit card offer was transformed by the phone into gnomic criticism (?) of the financial-industrial complex (e.g., “Zero-rated introductory fighter-bombers onboard abandonments”; “Foolhardily reversible tobacconists rarefied insidiousness”). I can only hope this means that when my phone eventually gains sentience, it, too, will be a Marxist.
Finally, here’s the original text, if you’re interested: