Jennifer B Pierce

Inbox, A Lovesong

I hope you are not in the city now,
Earliest Recorded Northern Explorers.
Egwene stepped out of the silver arch cold and stiff with anger. Pallid-faced.
He said I was a swamp sunflower,
Dew-dabbled parasol fern.
And off the white smoke swims,
A frame of glided twilight.
My future, moot; my future, passage penny.
Better future: wedding gown.
Motto: kiss.
I hear these mermaids’ voices singing,
Idly attend to all their offerings:
Dear Beloved –
I must solicit your strictest confidence –
There is still time to register —
Autodesk Autocad Save.
I do not think they sing to me,
Yet I drown.


Source & Method: Aside from three lines directly from T.S. Eliot’s “Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and two that adapt the utterances of Prufrock (‘Idly attend …’ and ‘Yet I drown’), all these lines come from various spam messages that once accumulated in my inbox. Each line emerges from a different email. I saved the messages for a while because of their distinctive phrases, before arranging them in this sequence with the added / amended commentary. We think of spam as junk. Some of it, though, is lovely, rivaling conventional poetry. Rather than something to be dismissed, they captivate and beguile.


Jennifer B Pierce lives and writes in the Midwest.


Photo by Nate Neelson on Unsplash