the colour of our lives

poetry • celebration • faith • nature • humanity • imperfections • glory

algorithm for non-conversation

first if
should someone share information or
emotion you

– well, while we’re on that topic . . .
– that’s nothing . . .
– here’s what you need to do . . .
– oh, really? when that happened to me . . .
– now let me tell you . . .

if no initial gambit is
if several of the previous type
have been successfully implemented
start discussing

the weather
any topic on which you have strong
non-negotiable opinions

you will have good chance of never having
the authenticity or connection you were
avoiding in the first place

or else
you may need to resort to


that should do it


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3 thoughts on “algorithm for non-conversation

  1. good poem, but I think this subject matter doesn’t need such intent, planning & execution. Years ago, a college friend contended that either people don’t really care, or are busy planning their responses when it comes to “serious talk”. He had an experiment where , at a party, he would turn to the stranger next to him and begin quite a tale, bring up the suspense in the telling until just before the climax, and stop. cold. and wait.
    This friend contended that more than 75% of the strangers would not interestedly (or even politely) ask “Well, What happened?”
    I didn’t believe this until I tried the experiment for myself. The first two “listeners”
    I got nothing, the third just got up and left. My view of humanity was bruised then, surprised & bruised. Sorry for going on, yr words made me think of this. Thanx for yr kind comments at my end.

    • thanks – the poem seems to have hit a target, but I’m sad it was apparently such a painful one for you. Actually I don’t talk to strangers much, and this was a [mostly] whimsical look at the common practice of conversational sabotage which is, sadly, common even among colleagues, friends, and even spouses. I do not escape blame myself. The irony of it is that even with all the communication tools we have available I think we are becoming lonelier, and many folks are dying for authentic conversation. But it’s so hard to let down our guard.
      Part of the point of the poem was that avoiding genuineness, or even not displaying a human curiosity, is a skill that we have learned so well that it’s like an automatic, programmed response.
      I feel jaded by all this, but I’m lucky, too; I have a community of friends which has many moments of true connection. True, we still often blatantly miss one another’s hearts, but there is enough connection to sustain hope.

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