13-3 poetry

The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.


A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis

13.3 (Summer 2013)




courtesy of artrenewal.org


Message Undeliverable

George Shirley  


Prayer malfunction.  Prayer malfunction.

Password failure.  Unknown script.

Firewall blocking holy unction.

ASK YE files are showing blips.

MAILER-DAEMON halts petition.

Fatal error: program glitch.

Help requested.  Need direction.

Nothing working.  Offer tips.


This is not a Frequent Question—

Chatroom prattle will not fix.

Drop Box offers no selection

Suited—only “other” fits.

How describe this misconnection?

Could I box and ticket it,

Send it, and receive correction,

No disjuncture would exist.


When I first viewed with revulsion

Gates’s Gallery of GIFs—

Why I first fought down compulsion

To accept the Spell Check’s picks—

Will no more to brief description

Translate than a chasm’s rift.

Operator-based suspicion

Has installed a template shift.


Pop-up headlines, mock elections,

Top Ten faves, straw polls, stock tips,

Flagged by Anti-Fool Protection

(Latest upgrade), met a quick

Quarantine; astute insertion

To the soul’s “no entry” list

Stayed from their malign dispersion

Numb cliché and whirring spin,


Tawdry boilerplate depictions—

Buxom singles, cruises, LIDS,

Meds, gold coins, green politicians—

Fodder for the Garbage Bin.

Faraday Cage of aversion

Intercepts such airborne sins—

Yet its net to catch subversion

Also stains the sunshine’s tint.


Facebook friends to E-Perdition

Send I where electrons thin.

Twittered wisdom’s cramped collisions

Hate I like the starlings’ din.

YouTube-primed assassinations,

Scandals PhotoShopped, and rich

Rockstar-slop of late sensations

To a ball my MindSpace pinch.


Now I sit in wired seclusion,

Screening telepathic whims—

Filtered so by disillusion

That my thoughts grow alien.

Icons obfuscate my vision:

Tool bars beam like Judases.

Something Me that shuns precision

Silence in a white blank sends.


Prayer malfunction.  Hope disruption.

Open new link.  Please assist.

Not receiving.  File corruption.

Password failure.  Unknown script.

George Shirley currently resides in the Clemson (South Carolina) area.  He has, taught English at several private high schools and colleges throughout the Southeast.