this morning I got a message
that asked, is anyone out there? I replied
no, I am not, are you not there too,
needing me, and if not, come over, I have
a small penis but aspirations for bigger things, faith among them, and by that I mean you and I
face to face, mouths
making the sounds once known
as conversation.” (Hicok 30-40)
Bob Hicok’s poem “Spam leaves an aftertaste” focuses on a series of analitical thoughts and questions triggered in result to a received email spam. The narrator speaks against the digital age, feeling as though the Internet takes the personal aspect out of things. The email spam advertising “a larger penis” symbolizes the commercialization-based society we live in and the internet serves as a mass consumer-reaching tool. One can sense the narrator’s frustration with the strong emphasis companies put on the consumption of their products by promoting the person that one can become. The author’s word choice is very selective when referring to the internet as “digital ether.” Knowing that Ethers are common organic compounds and pervasive in biochemistry it can be understood the narrator perceives technology to be invasive and prevalent. The poem juxtaposes elements of primitive times with those of the modern age, begging a satirical question, have we really gotten better? Perhaps we knew ourselves better in the past. The serious theme is that spam emails are very annoying and most of the time useless. This complicates the poem's tone because it switches from annoyed to humorous by making fun of the random advertisements but also making it evident that no one likes to get them. The narrator presents a disconsolate closing to his poem using a hyperbolic statement “mouths making sounds once known as conversations,” creating a sense of desperation for a person who shares the same beliefs as him.
The poet asks if someone else is “not there too,” revealing that he feels isolated and detached from others and his exaggerated...