If there’s one true thing, it’s that Google will make money off us no matter what. If we want to know what percentage of America is white (as it seems we do) what percentage of the population is gay (as it seems we do) what percentage of the earth is water: the engine is ready for our desire. The urgent snow is everywhere is a line by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and many have asked, apparently, where am I right now. Also when will I die. Do you love me may be up there, generating high cost-per-click, but not as high as how to make pancakes, what time is it in California. So many things I wanted to ask you, now that you’re gone, and your texts bounce back to me undeliverable. Praise to the goddess of the internet search, who returns with her basket of grain, 67,000 helpful suggestions to everything we request: how to solve a Rubik’s Cube, what to do when you’re bored, how old is the earth, how to clear cache, what animal am I, why do we dream, where are you now, come back.
Copyright © 2018 by Rachel Richardson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“I’ve been fascinated lately with algorithms and the things we expect computers to do for us. This poem came out of an internet search of the thousand most popular questions people googled in 2017 (and the astounding profit they generated for Google). Even though many of the questions seem vapid, I can’t help thinking that what we want to know, ultimately, is how to live. This poem is for my dear friend, the writer Nina Riggs, who died in February 2017 and who taught me the best answers I know to that question.”
Rachel Richardson is the author of two books of poems, most recently Hundred-Year Wave (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016).
Date Published: 2018-06-15
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/questions