The Nose-Counting Game

I
am a child alone,
the neighborhood could not care less.
A nose-counting game today spells
my existence in the monitor of
the Census Man’s computer.

I
am counted, assigned this number –
this frail figure with a
prepossessing chaff –
entered among a couple of thousands more,
a logbook corner tends a multitude.
The Census Man meanwhile says that
a world is getting too nosy,
‘You can’t hide away from it, 
not anymore in your whole 
damned taxed life.’

Yet hidden now behind a tiny number
who would know I am this face,
this countenance, this mind?
this child slave of the weeping moon
melting with the sunrise in this,
the collective boom.

Society becomes a quantitative heap,
and there is a newly-devised game
of finding who is who behind
the jilting ribs of numerals,
a cluster of pins with which to lance
the individual soul, his identity
gone frog-sticking in the starkest night
without a single bit of light.

© SSJ 1976

Author’s Note: 

The ‘The Nose-Counting Game’ is one of 5 poems of an untitled collection written in late 1975 and early 1976. The collection saw publication in the Focus Philippines magazine issue of 21 August 1976. It is a poem about the conundrum of not being able to hide from the greater power of a system that wants to further hide you under the sheer numbers of its big data.   – SSJ, 28 July 2017 

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This entry was posted in collection: untitled (1976), poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Nose-Counting Game

  1. That was very powerful! I appreciated the excerpt about the poems. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Feel free to read my post for the prompt if you want
    https://hannahshappenings.net/2017/07/28/seconds-feel-like-hours/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Imelda says:

    This poem is prescient – now, more than ever, are we just statistics, numbers, in this connected society. Yet, hidden as numbers, never have we been most exposed. Sometimes, falling off the grid is a temptation – but that means disappearing from life-as-we-know-it now as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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