Walter Hoelbling

numbers game

our lives are fraught with numbers

so many fractions of a second faster in a race
most wins on record   best jury votes
highest flight   deepest dive   most goals
meters of rising sea levels
millions of refugees   and more displaced
tens of thousands  honor killings
thousands of deaths with Ebola
millions of Zika virus victims next year
billions of deficit or profit in import/export
or the stock exchange
votes in elections    or for beauty queens

polls    tweets   virtual friends  & followers
likes on the social media    on hellopoetry

we have been taught to measure our status
our importance   and the significance of our lives
in clicks of other peoples’ digital devices

even our time has been reduced to numbers
the digital has long replaced the comprehensive
instead of the round disk that shows 12 hours
suggesting the duration of a normal day
we have a punctual display  without the whole
the cyclical has lost against the linear

0101010101010101010101010101010101
we all look forward to our numbered future
no past  and very little present

our hands on smart phones    homes    TVs
pushing a button makes things move
swishing a screen displays the world

over all that we easily forget
that we ourselves have been reduced to numbers
of customers for businesses
of voters for the politicians
of workers for the corporations
of citizens for our nations
digital quantities is what we have become

and if we take a global view
we are a part  of seven billion plus
that currently inhabit our earth

all of which do expect their individuality
be honored  and their dignity respected

numbers don’t  honor individuality
they simply count the units
items  or people  are for them the same

it’s left to us to find a way
that leaves the numbers in their place
yet guarantees us dignity
as individual members of the human race

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