18. What’s On Your Mind

We want to know today whether social media

make us narcissists. Can a collective be narcissistic?

All of us united in one goal of friendship–

how can that be anything but altruism,

a word little used, we know, but you can look it up:

the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless

concern for the well-being of others. How many

of you have experienced altruism in your lives?

I mean, here, on FB, this reality?

Show of “likes”, please. Let’s take David

as an example. Is he a narcissist for posting

details of his illness for all of us to read? Or is he

an altruist, concerned only for the well-being

of others? Or is he just trying to sell his new book?

What’s the title, anyway? Ah, here, “Chemo Brain.”

Not very uplifting, David, and misleading.

David? What do you have to say? Fifteen of us

like this post and want to know more.

Is “Chemo Brain” descriptive or proscriptive?

David is practicing zazen, something he’s always done

half-heartedly, now seriously. He does not respond. His eyes

are half closed. FB looks more closely at his face, which seems

oddly serene. It’s like that moment in Alien I or II when

the creature dripping acid is nose-to-nose with Ripley.

He wants nothing in his mind but the rain that’s ended.

Ok, here are today’s kitty pictures, the cutest

ever, and here one who died after years of caring

for her human, who’s now dying of grief.

And today’s titty picts. Va-va-voom. Plus music,

featuring today the sounds of Neil Diamond

singing “Sweet Caroline,” warm, touching warm,

reaching out, touching you. Breaking news,

Syria. Mass shooting somewhere. You cannot

escape the certainty of mass stuff like shootings

or assemblies or, look, a flash mob is arriving,

someone with a cello and now a piccolo,

the beginning strains of, what is that tune,

the one that is now deeply buried in your fucked

zen head. It’s crowded in here. Hundreds of us

loving you, caressing you, curling around your

sweet tumors. You want us to go, but we don’t leave

until you leave. What’s on your mind, huh?

For a moment, the rain returns, laving the giant maple leaves,

the wash of memory descending, and how it is after rain again

when there is nothing and then there is everything.

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