Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator




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

not having to make some excuse.
But what if - despite the teleporting device -
I still came late, being careless

or forgetful or thinking my time
more important than theirs?
The most inventive excuse would be no use.

That's the trouble with technology
there's always a 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.
But maybe this has a downside too -
the new invention would 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'd taken the trouble to teleport into me.

You know, it might be happening already,
someone's inside our minds, observing our thoughts
manipulating them for God knows what end.

That's scary isn't it? Downsides...
So we'd have to build in encryption and passwords.
Then who do we give the password to?

Another problem. If we didn't allow any access
- not even to those who love us -
they'd start to ask why not?

And then they'd always be some who didn't have
secure passwords, or they'd be others
who'd find a way to hack in,

and, the police would be on to it
for their own purposes. 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...

The traffic's easing. I'm moving forward... I've enough
time to think up some ordinary decent human untruth
to tell them. I have a feeling they'd rather it that way.


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