Archive for January, 2014

Chat Roulette Poem


Chat Roulette was, for a very brief time, an internet sensation. It’s now gone the way of Myspace. Most people who use it seem to be millennials. At any given minute, between 3,000 and 30,000 of them are online and looking for conversations, fights or to fulfill their curiosities. I find it fascinating because every conversation transports you into a room with a stranger: you’re given a glimpse into their life and beliefs. It’s fascinating to observe patterns in how people interact with complete strangers. You learn things. Weird things. Like how quickly people anger when you move your head side to side for no reason, and how more likely they are to speak with you when you’re smiling, or if they feel like they’re observing a scene in progress. I’ve also noticed tendencies in people from various countries.


I wrote up this brief collection of experiences as a reflection on my recent time on the social platform. 


Strangers video-chat revealing themselves to each other. Often body parts are exposed, sometimes more. A girl from Michigan shares her story. A neo-nazi youth salutes, flexing his tattoos. Three Turkish men repeat the word ‘fag.’


A parade of hitting the next button. 18M, Denmark, studies my face then finger-salutes. Attractive Brazil women giggle, bounce, and repeat. A silent man sits in the dark. 32M Poland breaths into a mask. They float across my screen like dreams. 


 Finally, 24F Texas start talks to me. “Hey you, can you hear me now?” She smiles knowing how rare she is. ‘Clear as a cow,’ I say. She is amused, and I am to. We talk for 15 minutes or more. I show my paintings, her eyes widen. She shows her boots, books and awards. Why are you here, she asks me. For the poetic moment, I tell her. Then she leaves, and 27M Chicago appears. 


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