We were meant as tactile creatures, no matter
Which power they say shaped us – with nerve-crusted digits
And tickle spots, and funny bones, and the apertures
Ringed by hypersensitive flesh – made to connect
By the laying on of hands and the meeting of mouths,
Skin, sense-sharpened, to skin.
And yet – and yet, tell me,
Who was the last person you touched?
Not the accidental brushes of fate in a trafficking crowd
Or the impersonal transfer of currencied commodity
I mean touched: real contact with intention
Tangible feeling transmitted through pores
And the electric dance of fingertips –
Touched, like you meant it;
Touched, like you wanted it back tenfold.
Do you know? Do you even remember?
In the age of iTouch-Everything and automate membranes
We drift, absorbed by silicon imitations
Separated by light-years of wavelengths
Tracing patterns on cold, flat screens while blitzing past
The warm, soft, reciprocating real thing,
And still we’re never quite able to shake the feeling that hey,
Something’s wrong, something’s missing –
Because the remembered ages of mother’s kiss and lover’s caress
Linger always in the memory of our senses
Even if unburned in the memory of our minds –
But no. We deny. We deny, by God,
And we devote our lives and living instead
To better pixels and instant feedback and immediate interface response –
We are pathetic. A worldwide web of isolated spiders
Each in our own silk cocoons
Never venturing beyond our own weaving
(For who knows what the other is or of his intention?)
And we’re calling this progress? Progress? Really?
Give me a break.
No. A chance to break, break down this
Great Wall of Cynic we barricade ourselves behind
And re-establish the shaking of hands, the clasping to breasts
The bearhugs and embraces and cheeks pressed –
Return to a time when touch was for people not PCs,
When hugs and kisses were relayed sans asterisk brackets,
When smiles did not need punctuation to be seen
And we weren’t so goddamn afraid of holding and being held.
It won’t take much. A friendly grin, mussing of hair
A pat on the back and a poke in the ribs – these will be our weapons
And the battle will be waged wherever we find you
For in this siege there are no rules of combat.
But we will take no prisoners – there’s no need,
Only return the favour, and we have both won,
And all winners are soldiers still for the cause.
So come. Take up your armor, enemy – and take also my hand.