To Marshall McLuhan

© Accenti Image Bank

You were right, dear professor,
the great vortex came in time
whirling us
into the pond
in which Narcissus saw his
beauteous reflection.

No longer an extension
of the hand, the mouth, the ear,
no longer a tool,
but an obsession, a possession
Narcissus mesmerized by his own image
til he lingered
and perished.

In the dispiriting cafés
in front of our Apple screens—the apple was
once a fruit, now mechanized, and bitten
like the original—
the seductive bite
that drove us out.

Narcissus solitary and non-conversant,
transfixed by the still and moving image,
his words clipped—non-words,
language diminished—Buckle!

You had said Buckle!
is the most important word
in The Windhover.
We have buckled—not to the spirited bird—
but to the maelstrom

our mechanical bride,
the great seduction,
the wind from the subway grate
blowing and whirling her wondrous dress!

Once we were discernible
even in front of TV sets, even in the subway trains,
reading the newspaper or a book
avoiding invasive eyes, stealing a look
at a man’s jaw or a woman’s dress;
each inward, in possession of one’s own thoughts,
idle daydreaming—till we got off at our

O prof, I’d rather be in the painting by Renoir—
Luncheon of the Boating Party—a finer and more
textured impression than any photograph:
the chatter in French seduces my ear,
the wine glasses clink,
the breeze from the river flaps the striped canopy
of the Maison Fournaise,
the men lean on the women beauteous to them;
le bonheur of 1881…
the good hour.

“To Marshall McLuhan” was first published by the League of Canadian on

Silvia Falsaperla writes poetry and fiction. She has completed a poetry manuscript, a hybrid chapbook of poetry and short stories, a children’s picture book, and she is currently working on another collection of poetry and short stories. She works and lives in Toronto.

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