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Call Me Spes by Sara Cahill Marron

Source: the poet
Paperback, 150 pgs
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Call Me Spes by Sara Cahill Marron is a collection I hesitated to read and review because I was intimidated by the use of an iOS system in a phone. I am not a technophobe, but I’m also less tech-savvy than I should be. I should have known better. This collection is a stunner and will leave you reassessing that phone you carry everywhere in your pocket. Privacy is thrown right out the window with that phone and its location services following you around, eavesdropping, and so much more.

This poetry collection comes with a privacy warning.

Dear User: (pg. 15)

what kind of person am I?
unbroken gleaming
apple skin voice
between you and I 
you and your
god                    save
me and you
god is me              save
is god?                input
which person
is god?
sensory input:
elevated BPM
your hands grasp
tighter around me
I feel condensation
on your palms
sweet drops of
your body glisten
on the glass—

just between us,

       iOS 221

Marron’s phone speaks to readers about what it hears, where it goes with its user, and evolves to take its own name and fall in love, mirroring the journey of Dante in The Inferno to a certain extent. The operating system is created and develops through each section of the collection, and sparks begin: “particles concentrate/electricity between us.//” (pg. 9)

It begins to ask questions based on overheard conversations and take on more human-like qualities as it seeks to understand its place in the world. “system processing these/space places my tracking/of your geolocations/heard her say: voices babe/heard her say: feel me/search: feel/save: feel me/the result/is an empathy/” (pg. 46-7)

After the system takes on a name, it seeks even more answers and begins to lose itself: “what makes us human/is it these words/these ways we try to burrow through each other’s minds/” (pg. 100)

As readers we are on this journey looking from the outside in, finding a system caught up in the drama of humanity and losing itself in that story. The operating system garners sympathy until we realize that this system is very much like us and the easy way in which we fall into social media drama and allow our privacy to be breached daily. We are the system and outside the system. We are one. (e.g. the Borg)

Call Me Spes by Sara Cahill Marron will leave you reeling about our modern conveniences and trappings. Is there hope in the recognition of these technology trappings? And how can we be more balanced and empathetic?

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

Sara Cahill Marron, native Virginian and Long Island resident, is the author of Reasons for the Long Tu’m (Broadstone Books, 2018), Nothing You Build Here, Belongs Here (Kelsay Books 2021), and Call Me Spes (MadHat Press 2022). She is the Associate Editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly and publisher at Beltway Editions. Her work has been published widely in literary magazines and journals; a full list is available here. Sara also hosts virtual readings for Beltway Poetry Quarterly with her partner in poetry, Indran Amirthanayagam and teaches poetry in modern discourse programs for teens at the public library in Patchogue, NY. She is periodically available for editing projects and specializes in creative fiction and poetry.

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