Monday, April 5, 2010

This may be a statement about our lithium culture where things seem to be over-determined in ways not always to our liking. Sometimes, we become the gadgetry we carry, and let our lives and our selves be driven by it. There is, however, no denying the fact that those machines can serve good purposes. This piece represents such an ambivalent position.


A man I know

always on the go
Carries a time machine on his wrist
It ticks and ticks and ticks and ticks
It's ticking its day away.
Before he succumbs to sleep,
He hears it tick.
Its lithium battery
Has a lifetime warranty.
The battery, though ostensibly
The heart of our lithium culture,
Is the only friend who's kept him company
For the past eighteen hundred
And thirty-three days.
Watch doctors have declared
The battery days numbered
And her cells nearly dead.
A man I know always on the go
Carries a time machine in his cells
No doubt so close, so dear, and so vital
To his heart.
It ticks and ticks and ticks and ticks
It's ticking his days away.
When he looks
At the unperturbed waters of the lake
He sees it tick and gets perturbed.
The lithium battery doctors could
Conceivably tell
How long it will tick.
Their lithium screens
Could principally declare
His years numbered
And her cells nearly dead.

Ali H. Raddaoui


Anonymous said...

There's a peaceful dwelling in a distant land; very far away towards the east.There, people never heard of "lithium culture" and will never bother to!their day is marked by a lithium free clock:when the rooster crows they rise with the sun!
when their shadows are short and take a certain position on the ground, then it's noon and time to nap under a palm or olive shade!Finally, when birds are flying back to their nests; it's time for bed!
Instead of hearing the time machine ticking,the whisper of growing wheat kernels in the field fills their ears!I invite the man you know to throw his time gadget and travel eastward,towards the sun, towards life.
As for the poem as such,one cannot read it without feeling the prevailing genius alongside melancholy that is omnipresent in all your twenty poems!


Some people say that when we deal with machines we become deprived from our feelings and emotions as we are indulged in the unreal and in the unseen. However, this peace of wrinting proves well that we can increase our senses when dealing with machines and increase our affection. I see here a fusion between the world of technology and the realm of dreaming and imagination and the mediator here is the human mind.

Ali H. Raddaoui said...


The invitation you're issuing to the man on the go is so tantalizing. Your comment is very insightful itself and has all the earmarks of a great piece of writing in gestation. Your recreation of the 'Eastern' scene can be true to life as I knew it. I am not 100% sure things are where they are in terms of your description of the present, but one is always entitled to imagine a reality other than that which is prevalent.

Thank you so much for your comment.
Ali H. Raddaoui

Ali H. Raddaoui said...

Dear Adnen,

You're certainly right; there are people who are more reconciled with machines than they are with humans. Have you seen those statements on some people's main computer screen which say: 'I like my computer because my friends live in it'? The extent to which some get addicted to their machines, whatever these may be, could be alarming, but without wanting to sound like someone fond of a gadget, I must say that there are times when these gadgets add a lot of ease to our lives, and actually provide 'added value'. Look at us; we haven't seen each other for over seven to eight months, but we are communicating.

Thank you for your comment, and good luck with your research projects.

Ali H. Raddaoui