Samara O'Shea

Please Write: Don’t Phone

I just returned from a wonderful, whirlwind-of-a-trip to Wausau, WI. In five days I visited six high schools (and spoke to 15 classes!), hosted two lectures / discussions at the Woodson Art Mueum, spoke at one corporate event, and appeared on one radio show (my show hasn’t been posted yet but will be soon). Whew! I’m exhausted and fulfilled. The people of Wausau are thoughtful, welcoming, funny, and liberal. Obama / Biden everywhere! I’ll share some photos with you as soon as I can figure out how to post them on my blog (I’m always behind with these things).

In the meantime, I’d like to share with you this fabulous poem that one of the teachers at DC Everest High School gave to me.

Please Write: Don’t Phone
By: Robert Watson

While there is mail there is hope.
After we have hung up I can’t recall
Your words, and your voice sounds strange
Whether from a distance, a bad cold, deceit
I don’t know. When you call I’m asleep
Or bathing or my mouth is full of toast

I can’t think of what to say.
“We have rain?” “We have snow?”

Let us write instead: surely our fingers spread out
With pen and paper touch more of mind’s flesh
Than the sound waves moving from throat to lips
To phone, through wire, to one ear.
I can touch the paper you touch.
I can see you undress in your calligraphy.
I can read you over and over.
I can read you day after day.
I can wait at the mailbox with my hair combed,
In my best suit.
I hang up. What did you say?
What did I say? Your phone call is gone.
I hold the envelope you addressed in my hand.
I hold the skin that covers you.