The Scrolls by Rob Cook

The people cannot stop scrolling. They scroll in the stuffed seats of the subway, scroll on the always flatulent bus, scroll while walking, head down, in front of the oncoming truck. They scroll in church while the pastor prays and God is watching from the Google clouds. They scroll at home, in bed, while copying and sharing sex—which is nothing but scrolling, though some call it “flesh farming” now. They scroll while they sleep and scroll while being scalded by their lukewarm breakfast and while they scold their scrolls of downloaded children. They scroll, then, to work, down the scrolls of the anxious sidewalks. They scroll while you stare at them, and you return the cruelty by scrolling as well. They scroll while they drive their cars and they scroll as they click on another car whose pilot is also scrolling. They scroll while they bleed out, and the loss of blood makes the sound a mouse click makes when it’s lost. They scroll while they scream. It’s all captured in the scrolling. They scroll while the ambulance carries them in its big siren belly. The ambulance, still part of the slow world of stone, is infected with you and you and you and you, each a grown person, scrolling while the images feed you the right pills along with scroll after scroll of online lard. You keep going this way. You scroll right past the picture of you scrolling through your life. Sometimes you feel afraid and you go scrolling into the crowded wilderness and try to kill what it is that makes you afraid. You scroll through God’s head and see what he knows about you, and he knows everything about you, and you try to erase the data, scrolling through your pumpkin-wired coop of angels and pumpkin pulp and you cannot stop scrolling. It will not let you stop scrolling.

Rob Cook lives in New York City’s East Village. He is the author of six collections, including Asking my Liver for Forgiveness (Rain Mountain Press, 2015), Undermining of the Democratic Club (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014), Blueprints for a Genocide (Spuyten Duyvil, 2012) and Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade (Bitter Oleander Press, 2013).