Previous revision posted 4/5/2013.
On Facebook, there is a man
who has 1500 friends,
approximately 800 of whom
he has met personally.
Of those he’s met
he’s had more than passing conversations
with maybe 200,
had longer and more confidential conversations
with perhaps 40,
and perhaps 15 have the qualities
in the sense of the word
that existed prior to the year 2006.
1500 friends —
800 he’s seen,
400 he’s spoken with in meatspace,
200 he’s connected with,
40 he would tell this story to,
15 who would agree with him
but for the fact
that they are vanishing
into a cloud.
The man one day decides to read
a three volume unfinished novel
titled “A Man Without Qualities.”
He opens the first book,
closes it, opens it again,
closes it…a book,
three volumes long
and still unfinished,
about a man who is nothing
but what he is given to be
The book will sit on his bedside table
unopened for long spells
as he talks to 1500 friends online.
If there is a Quality
it is being absorbed into a cloud.
If someday the man wants to speak
to those 15 friends
after they’ve vanished,
he will have to learn a new word
with which to summon them.