Troy Jollimore

July 20, 2023 Jollimore Troy



My phone sends me an alert:
You are burning more bridges this year
than you were at this time last year.
There’s no arguing with a handheld device.
It’s not so much being myself
that’s so awful in itself. It’s having to be
myself all the time. No break, no pause,
no hiatus, no sabbatical. No leave
of absence. No radical absent-minded
drifting away from the matter at hand,
following through on that thought
you’ve been trying to follow
precisely as unplanned.


My phone sends me an alert:
Someone else, it seems, has been posting disparaging
texts about the current sad state
of domestic affairs in the same snarky tone
as me. You can’t copyright snark. I checked.
Or so they tell me. Now they tell me.
A little too little, a lot too literal,
a latter-day little too late.


My phone sends me a pic of Keats
on the lawn, aching for Fanny Brawne.
The caption runs, Keats stuns
in this eye-catching pair
of tight-fitting palinodes.
Try not to stare. Oh, when the broken
arty people of the world agree
re: negative capability,
let it be. Let it be. Oh, let them eat cake.
For heaven’s sake, let him, Keats, ache.


My phone sends me an alert:
someone is trying to use my face
to sign in to a funeral
in northern North Dakota.
Go ahead, I tell it. Let them try.
Let the smartasses of this vale of tears
lift their glowing smartphones to the sky.
I mean, why shouldn’t I?
I mean, why must I always be the one
who has to have all the fun?


Troy Jollimore’s books of poetry are Syllabus of Errors, At Lake Scugog, and Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry in 2006.