I have a knack for poetry.
I have much respect for people who have an innate ability to produce poetry. Maybe that's why I privilege my poet friends to the degree that I do. I am aware of their skill and I pay homage to it. I was never good at writing it. However, I vouched to get decent at interpreting it.
Today I met a poet.
We met while talking about the iPhone 4s and how it compares to other super phones in the market. The conversation started most business-like. I've been in the technology business for a year now and there has been a shift in my quotidian jargon. I've replaced words like la terza rima, literary tropes, synecdoche, and gender theory with words like multicore, downloading speeds, data, and Android. The latter choice is faster, very 'now', technical and, at times, not very poetry-informed. It's denuded of tropes. It's clean, clinical, and free of literary entanglements.
At times though, my literary scholar self comes out most unexpectedly and, voila, a poet is befriended.
The following conversation took place today between me and the poet:
The poet: "So, what do you make of the Samsung Galaxy S II dominating Europe right now?"
I: "It's good. It speaks well for the Samsung brand but Apple is still king. It's tough to ignore the 'cool' factor of the brand. Especially now. The iPhone 4S is going strong."
He:"The Galaxy S II is a superphone, though."
I: "No doubt. The S II is a superphone, it has a double core, 14.4+ downloading speed, 4.2; screen, 8MP camera. At the same time the iPhone is a super phone to all those who have it and have experience with it."
I continue and this is where the connection takes place.
"You know, the new 4s is poetry."
He:"What do you mean by that?"
I:"It's a beautiful balance of form and content. It has capabilities that I doubt most users will ever come close to making use of and, not insignificantly, it's aesthetically pleasing. It's like a good poem."
He: "Hmm. Funny you say that. I do that. I perform my poetry."
Instead of resuming the conversation like any other 'normal' person, I channel my literary scholar self and say, "structured or free verse?"
He: "Allen Ginsberg. All the way, Ginsberg."
I: "He seemed to need so much affection, a shame not to make him happy."
He: "Death & Fame." Hmm. Really?"
He looks happy to have outed someone. Someone like him. Someone of his ilk.
At this point we know we're not about to go back and talk about Wired articles on super phones or Steve Jobs' passing, the Apple brand, or superphones.
He: "So, who's yours? Favorite, I mean."
I: "Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita...."
Needless to say, we will speak again. Meeting poets with a knack for technology doesn't happen often. Most of my poet friends are not technofiles. Or infected by neophilia, for that matter.
My new friend says he reads his own poetry at a cafe nearby.
In a businesslike fashion, I open up my iPhone, tap on the calendar app, ask for the name of the cafe, click on the GPS and calculate the distance from work. Beautiful. It's only 2.4 miles South.