It’s Awfully Quiet in Here

Charles the chazinator is hosting dVerse Poets Pub’s, Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft this evening, and he’s invited us to write a poem that references in some way the technological or machine spirit of our time. I have a feeling the route I’ve taken might be a bit crowded, but nonetheless, down that path I went. I hope you enjoy it!

It’s Awfully Quiet in Here


I ran into an old friend the new way yesterday

I love the Internet

Re-connecting with old friends and making new ones

Though far away in miles, able to stay in touch

Email, Twitter, blog and Facebook

All awesome things

But I’ve come to realize

Even when it’s so easy to stay in touch

People come, and then they go

Not many stay for long

Though only a click away

The distance seems to grow

Sometimes an abrupt thing

Other times a slow fade

The new seems to wear off

And pretty soon they’re gone.

But… as one exits, another enters

And it’s like were on a vast ocean

Little bumper boats drifting around

Waving, smiling, and tooting horns

It used to bother me

This just-passing-by syndrome

I wanted them all to stay

But then I realized

That for each one that went away

Another usually stopped by to take their place

And the “sea” was somehow always full

I’ve come to terms with it

I like it

A life constantly full of new friends—and old

As they come and go

In the ebb and flow of the e-world we live in

I enjoy them while they’re here

Then wish them well

When they continue on their way

But I wonder sometimes

If I’m a man running a machine

Or a machine running a man

In either case…

It’s awfully quiet in here


Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn


  1. friends do come and go…it was neat seeing old friends on FB before i junked mine…but also weird…it is nice to reconnect occassionally but not too many called after i disappeared you know….

    • Yep. FB is kind of a weird duck. I often feel like I’m an outcast in there. I have this really bad habit of saying what I think on just about any given subject, and that seems to bother people. Go figure. I’ll probably wind up bailin from there one a these days.
      I appreciate the visit and comment, Brian. Loved your poem!

  2. Sherry Mashburn said

    I love the line: And it’s like were on a vast ocean

    Little bumper boats drifting around

    Waving, smiling, and tooting horns.

    And the last line is is superb!!

  3. Your words speak to me…I too am baffled by people just coming and going, real life and in blogger world. But I guess, its the way life is ~

    Its nice to meet and get to know you week in and out ~


    • It is the way life is, on line and in real life too. It used to bother me, but I’ve gotten used to it, and try to enjoy folks while there around.
      It’s good to know you, too!

  4. Modern technology does open up new doors, and we can connect with people from everywhere in the world. That makes it so exciting but as you say, we’re all just a click away. I’d like to think that you can form close bonds and friendships even if it is via the internet. Nice view on the prompt!

    • I think I have made some good friends on the Internet. It’s a weird thing in a way, but a good thing, too!

  5. Charles,
    it is a curious thing, the way lives and souls connect. I went onto facebook to keep in touch with my son in Denver and daughter in Bedford, Tx…and their children. I found as time goes on, there are
    other people I have connected with…amazing. And, yes, they come
    and go, but there always seems to be that core of people that I am
    lucky to have that I know are there when I need them. Some people
    are fair weather friends, that’s ok, and others, forever friends, just like
    in “real life”…but what is real life…the written life may be more truthful
    than our face to face lives.
    I go with the flow, amazed at how people find each other…kindred souls
    despite the miles…like minds finding like minds…
    Back in the day…before I got my computer…like two years ago !…it
    made me wonder how a couple of friends from different countries found
    each other, fell in love and are “happily ever after” when they couldn’t find that in their own neighborhood.
    Long winded as usual… love what you wrote…
    Siggi in Downeast Maine

    • Goin with the flow is just how I’ve learned to do it too, Siggi. I spent many years worrying about what people thought, and trying to please everybody. At some point, I realized it wasn’t even about me in most cases. Everyone is pretty much wrapped up in their tighter circle–nothing wrong with that–and a passerby is just that. I love the life I’ve evolved into, and I love all the people who come and go. I believe in looking at the good things, and it seems the more I do that, the more I realize, it’s all good.
      Thanks for the wonderful conversation, and thanks for being one of my on-line friends!

  6. Mary said

    Charles, your words ring so true to me. I do wonder sometimes if I bailed from various places who’d come lookin’ for me. But yes, you are right, people come and go in real life and online. Some become true friends though in both venues; and those are treasures to me. I enjoyed your poem and the thoughts it provoked in me.

    • I’ve thought about that “bailing” concept, too, Mary. In fact, I have bailed from FB a few times for a month or two at a time. No one seemed to know I was gone. It bothered me at first, but then it didn’t. It’s a strange thing; like the people aren’t real, or something. You can block them, and they cease to exist. Very strange, when you think about it. I just do what I do, and try to be good to the people I come in contact with.
      Thanks very much for the insightful comment. I truly enjoy your visits and the things you have to say.

      • Mary said

        I enjoy your blog a lot, generally take a look most days, though I don’t always comment. If I left FB, I think the same thing…no one would notice. We are generally not as ‘important’ as we imagine.

  7. I think this is also true of real life too. We meet old friends, connect for a while and then life seems to see us drift off again, I think it’s what (in the end as long as we don’t lose our humanity all together) is what will separate us from the future machines destined to take over in a huge way before too long. But yes, it ebbs and flows and it is wonderful to make new friends.

    • And I think we should ebb and flow with it. It is good in many ways.
      Thank you for being a part of my e-world, Daydreamer!

  8. leahJlynn said

    I rather enjoy at times keeping up with old friends that live far away through facebook. but i love when I get a real letter in the mail or simply talk on the phone. and yes, i think the machines runs us sometimes

    • A letter in the mail?? I vaguely remember those. I haven’t written or received one in probably thirty years.
      Thanks for the comment, Leah!

  9. claudia said

    But I wonder sometimes
    If I’m a man running a machine
    Or a machine running a man….smiles…who can be sure… i think the online world can be a crazy world sometimes…just like the real world as well.. i’ve met some friends online i wouldn’t want to miss anymore..others come and go…true..i just enjoy and make the best out of it…nicely penned sir charles

  10. shanyns said

    We do drift on that wired or wireless sea don’t we? I love being connected and connecting, some do stay and others wander away. I’m not always popular in what I say but I say it anyway! Unfriending isn’t exactly a gamechanger for me and without it we’d never have these great blog posting parties and poetic visits!

    Enjoyed your poem, really nicely done.

    • As strange as it seems, I cannot imagine life without the Internet.
      Thanks, Shanyns. I appreciate your visits and comments very much!

  11. It’s a good point – technology changes the way we function/process/understand – but it dose not change human nature! (At least, let’s hope!) Might make it easy to stay in touch… but doesn’t make us stay in touch!

    • So true. Although, I wonder about it changing human nature. I think if we look closely, we’ll see it already has.
      Thanks for the great comment, Jessica!

  12. zongrik said

    but even though they are gone, you can still stay in touch…

    Sonnet 40

  13. Chazinator said

    The internet is so much a part of our lives. I’ve used it to stay in touch with children, loved ones, and this community of poems. I met my last girlfriend on here and my wife! The technology is a tool, and as such is pretty innocuous. I like the way you have taken a laid back approach to it, emphasizing this communication aspect of technology. I think your attitude is right, and I really enjoyed reading the poem that says in a reflective, modest way. Since I work in software design and development, it might seem that of course I am for technology. True, but I also see the dangers, and I think these are real. In many ways I think the changes are inevitable, not because they are forces of nature or history, but simply because people do not think it could be different. What I’d hope is that the attitude and thoughts reflected in your poem would inform the understanding that future generations will also exhibit.

    • I wrote a short story about 16 years ago predicting some futuristic things in the same kind of laid back way I did this poem. One of the things I talked about in the story was teleplants (my word); a reciever imbedded somewhere near the ear, and a mouthpiece near the mouth; both under the skin and invisibleto the naked eye. Put that together with voice activation, and you have quite a sci-fi gizmo. I also got into the medical side of things with a temp-heart; a machine that could keep a person alive, but only for a prscribed time limit. It’s all out there, and the world as we know it won’t exist in another 50 years. You probably know that as well as anyone.
      Great prompt, Charles. I’ve written three other poems as a result of it. I’ll be posting them sometime in the “future”.
      Thanks for the great comment!

  14. David King said

    Like ships that pass in the night… an accurate assessment, I would say, though not universally so.

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