(Self) Portraiture In the Modern Age

(Self) Portraiture In the Modern Age

I sit
in front of my computer
squinting into
the screen.

Gallup asks me
to rate my life,
on a scale
of 1 to 10,

Then to rate my life
five years from now.

My answers are supposed to be

meaning that only a select few
sitting in Omaha, Nebraska,
and their computer system,
now know
not only how I think the President,
Congress, the military industrial complex,
health care reform, various commercial enterprises
my employer and workplace and my exercise program
are doing,
but also
how my life turned out
and will.

(Participation is my chance,they tell me,
to “make my opinions count.”)

Sometimes I only need go up to 5–a half-life–
that being a world that I cannot imagine
without–you name it–Pizza Hut–Citibank–Ramada Inn–
and 1 meaning that I think the
really stink.

I picture these (presumably) Nebraskans
depicting me
as a series of checkered squares mounted
onto the sides of their cubicles,
not so much like the pixels of a super close-up
as the pattern of a restaurant tablecloth
tacked up over damaged sheetrock–

The cut-out is shaped
like a woman–as slender as the target at
a shooting range–only this one
is of a certain age group, i.e. her squares
intersect with other squares
perhaps of a different color–
but only with those that also do not frequent Pizza Hut,
are able to imagine a world without Citibank,
and can’t remember whether they ever stayed
at a Ramada Inn–

And yet, the squared curves
have a life, although, admittedly,
it rates below 10.

Were the questions interesting?
Gallup asks me at the end of each survey,
as I sit
in front of the computer,
into the screen.

Ha.  Here’s another silly one for DAY 18!  Of National Poetry Month.  Posted for Brian Miller’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub to write a self-portrait.  I am, in fact, a proud member of the Gallup Poll.

And I’m sorry for the length–my editing capacities wearing down.  
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16 Comments on “(Self) Portraiture In the Modern Age”

  1. This was humorous to read……..I loved it.

  2. billgncs Says:

    they really don’t want to know what you think, they want to know how to manipulate you…

  3. hedgewitch Says:

    Nothing to be sorry for when its good, k. I like this one–it’s got all the usual ingredients in the broth of alienation, but it manages to somehow have its own delicious flavor. I especially like the stanza beginning:
    The cut-out is shaped
    like a woman–as slender as the target at
    a shooting range–
    that whole stanza just gels the poem. I saw the illustration on FB and laughed out loud, btw, Had to come read, though I usually try to read in the mornings when my brain isn’t boiled by, yes, squinting into the screen.

    And, another one bites the dust! I desperately sat down to write mine for tomorrow earlier with a totally blank mind–fortunately saw a picture, and got it in literally five minutes–pure serendipity, not skill. ;_)

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. This started simple and got more complicated. I had one going for tomorrow and got interrupted and then just very tired so I don’t know what I will do. Come up with something! I seem to be on a later posting schedule so I have all day to think of something. Though I think your ekphrastic thing has been working out super well for you and I thought in my mind of a picture at least–but haven’t taken the trouble to actually look at it! Maybe that would help! k.

  4. Mama Zen Says:

    This is such a kooky cool take on the idea of a self-portrait. I love it.

  5. brian miller Says:

    intriguing the information gatherers…and what that says about us when you slice and dice us down to data points…the cut out shape and alluding to the firing range it really a great point in this…

    happy easter to you as well…make sure what the easter bunny leaves you is candy—before you put it in your mouth…smiles.

  6. It’s strange all the ways others think to rate us and call it quality of life. As if! You captured this slice of modern life here.

  7. claudia Says:

    ha – actually i usually don’t take part in surveys as i’m not sure what they really do with the information…. all the world seems to gather data and information – just think about fb – and sometimes it frightens me how transparent everything gets..

  8. janehewey Says:

    fantastic self portrait response. wow, I think the daily writing exercise brings out the best in you. here, your voice is clean and clear, and your motive comes across authentically. restaurant tablecloth tacked up over damaged sheet rock! killer comparison. wonderful piece.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I am enjoying the daily poems. I find it great sustenance to write and, with the daily thing, you can’t worry too much if it is so good! Thanks so much for your kind comments, Jane. K.

  9. Abhra Pal Says:

    Karin, you took an interesting perspective in here. Smiles. Writing daily poetry must be difficult.

    Happy Easter.

  10. kkkkaty1 Says:

    I think you purposefully wanted for this portrait to not say a lot, yet the clues are there…a funny yet complicated write…(I gave up on the NaPo….oh well) Good on you!

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