Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator




Late for a meeting and stuck in traffic,
I dream of teleporting myself right now so I'm
Suddenly there - not having to apologise for being late,

Not having to make some excuse. Handy eh?
But what if - despite the teleporting device - I was
Still late, being selfish, thinking my time

More important than their time,
Or simply careless, or simply forgetful?
The most inventive excuse would be no use.

Perhaps that's the trouble with technology
There's always an unforeseen downside.
My car creeps on a few yards, but I'm flying

Off on a tangent, dreaming now of being able
To teleport into other people's lives,
To be a ghost on someone's shoulder,

Your shoulder, let's say, watching what you do,
Who you meet up with, what you say,
What thoughts you may have,

Even your dreams would be no bar to me.
Scary eh? But maybe this can have a downside too -
After the thrill of trying out the new invention

It'll quickly get tedious as there's not many
Lives that aren't repetitive, and if I spent enough time
Occupying the lives of others, what about mine?

I would be a shell that I occupy some of the time
Which wouldn't be much fun for anyone
Who's taking the trouble to teleport into me.

You know, it might be going on already, someone's
Inside our minds, observing our thoughts
Manipulating them for God knows what end.

It can send a shiver down the neck. Downsides...
So this new technology would need to have a firewall,
We'd have to set up passwords for access.

So who do we give the passwords to? Now there's
Another problem. If we didn't allow any access - not even
To those we love - they'd start to question, and why not?

And then they'd always be some who hadn't got
A grip on the technology and didn't have proper passwords,
Or even if they did they'd be others who'd find a way

To hack in. And, for their own purposes, the police
Would be interested in using them. Or our government...
Hell - that's a thought, they'd insist on getting

Inside us whenever they wanted. I'm starting to lose
Interest in this invention. I just feel that now
I've started the thought rolling, it's going to happen,

It's only a short step from surveillance cameras
And biometric cards, we'll all be crushed under
The bland hand of authority. We'd have no identity left.

The traffic's easing. I'm on my way, I'll be with them shortly.
I've enough time to think up some ordinary decent
Human untruth. I have a feeling they'd rather it that way.


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