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By A. E. Stallings

Now we’re all “friends,” there is no love but Like,

A semi-demi goddess, something like

A reality-TV star look-alike,

Named Simile or Me Two. So we like

In order to be liked. It isn’t like

There’s Love or Hate now. Even plain “dislike”


Is frowned on: there’s no button for it. Like

Is something you can quantify: each “like”

You gather’s almost something money-like,

Token of virtual support. “Please like

This page to stamp out hunger.” And you’d like

To end hunger and climate change alike,


But it’s unlikely Like does diddly. Like

Just twiddles its unopposing thumbs-ups, like-

Wise props up scarecrow silences. “I’m like,

So OVER him,” I overhear. “But, like,

He doesn’t get it. Like, you know? He’s like

It’s all OK. Like I don’t even LIKE


Him anymore. Whatever. I’m all like … ”

Take “like” out of our chat, we’d all alike

Flounder, agape, gesticulating like

A foreign film sans subtitles, fall like

Dumb phones to mooted desuetude. Unlike

With other crutches, um, when we use “like,”


We’re not just buying time on credit: Like

Displaces other words; crowds, cuckoo-like,

Endangered hatchlings from the nest. (Click “like”

If you’re against extinction!) Like is like

Invasive zebra mussels, or it’s like

Those nutria-things, or kudzu, or belike


Redundant fast food franchises, each like

(More like) the next. Those poets who dislike

Inversions, archaisms, who just like

Plain English as she’s spoke — why isn’t “like”

Their (literally) every other word? I’d like

Us just to admit that’s what real speech is like.


But as you like, my friend. Yes, we’re alike,

How we pronounce, say, lichen, and dislike

Cancer and war. So like this page. Click Like.


Source: Poetry (May 2013)

Poet Bio

A.E. (Alicia) Stallings studied classics at the University of Georgia and Oxford University. Stallings’s poetry is known for its ingenuity and wit, and dexterous use of classical allusion and forms to illuminate contemporary life. In interviews, Stallings has spoken to the importance of classical authors on her own work: “The ancients taught me how to sound modern,” she told Forbes magazine. “They showed me that technique was not the enemy of urgency, but the instrument.” She is director of the Poetry Center in Athens, Greece where she lives with her husband, John Psaropoulos, editor of the Athens News, and their son, Jason.

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