Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Royal Cellular Ballet

The Royal Cellular Ballet

Four ladies in the corps in a row,
ivory leotards and silk skirts.

They bourrée across the stage,
foreheads tilting down to look

at the cell phones in their hands,
thumbs bourréeing across alphabets

on their screens. They are texting
each other. One posts to Twitter,

Finishing up tonight’s show.
Sold out. The clarinet is late

on her solo, has to set down
her phone, but recovers swiftly

and the audience forgets a few bars
in. They look up, hold their phones

out toward the stage. Everywhere
the dancing girls look, little red dots,

as if hundreds of laser pointers were
watching them attentively. Click, click,

, the sound of a baton against
a music stand, but the conductor’s

hands are raised, swooping like seagulls.
His ringtone. Who could be calling now.


  1. This is great, Hannah! I feel like I am a part of this production each day as of late.

  2. Really wonderfully captured scene. I love the "bourreeing" with cellphones in hand. Great ending to the poem, too.

    I was at a performance of a John Cage piece that was interactive, with the audience having to don ear pieces; the thing was, it was so much better watching in silence.

  3. The poem is a ballet in itself, and a marvelous social commentary!

  4. I am such a sucker for ballet, and this poem is a little ballet! Love it!

  5. lovely, hannah! sounds like the hallway of your typical american high school :-)

    neuroscientists say the last century and a bit of film and tv has rewired our neural pathways -- literally, physically -- and i can only imagine what is happening with today's integration of communications technology into every second of the day ... at what point are we sufficiently integrated with technology that the term "human" no longer applies?

    in the early days of cell phones, one marketing slogan was "now anybody can reach you anywhere at any time!" ... exactly, i thought, what a perfect reason not to have one!!

  6. Wonderful images in this one Hannah.

    We recently attended an experimental music concert in San Francisco and were surprised to see the pianist and ensemble players using their smart phones to keep track of measures.


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