xxxxxBecause we grew up fast
xxxxxAnd digital, we knew
Of nothing that we couldn’t do on camera:
xxxxSob for pop-stars, foist
xxxxOur foibles on the few
Who watched our webcams, threaten. Cyber karma
xxxxWould only last a night.
Our psyches formed one hyperlinked chimera
xxxxWe’d captured with a net.
xxxxOf course, the derriere-guard
xxxxDisputed our decisions,
Our freedoms, our unmediated selves,
xxxxScared that we might be scarred
xxxxBy all our live chat sessions
And video blogs. What web connection salves
xxxxThe wounds of loneliness?
Those two-bit links will make you technoslaves.
xxxxWe listened less and less.
xxxxWe stripped, we danced, we broke
xxxxDown. One girl cinched her neck
With a black belt and, pupils strangely dilated,
xxxxLet users watch her choke
xxxxUntil her mother’s knock
Clipped short the broadcast; we were most delighted.
xxxxDon’t treat your acts like files—
Your memories can never be deleted,
xxxxThey warned us. They were fools.
xxxxxYou’re more than programmed drives;
xxxxxTake care what you create.
They dreaded that we might do something wicked
xxxxxIn cybernetic droves—
xxxxxRage, self-destruct, run, riot—
And they were wise to worry when we clicked.
xxxxxThe plan grew bit by bit
As we kept thinking, thinking hard, and we could
xxxxxSee ourselves doing it.
Stephen Kampa is the author of three collections of poetry: Cracks in the Invisible (2011), Bachelor Pad (2014), and Articulate as Rain (2018). His work was included in Best American Poetry 2018. He teaches at Flagler College in Saint Augustine, FL.