Poetry: All the Lonely People

AFABW Int Poetry of the Month

August 28, 2020 – Los Angeles: The latest Artists For A Better World International “Poetry of the Month” selection features work from Dean Blehert of the United States.

All the Lonely People

It seems like last year, but probably it was

last decade or two that AT&T filled magazines

with ads that covered two pages. They showed

human beings standing on a surface — a sort of

contoured map — individuals of all sorts

just standing there, separate from each other

by 8 or 10 or 20 feet, dozens (and shrinking

toward the horizons, a suggestion of

hundreds and thousands) of people,

each separate from all others.

The caption was always:


Of course, AT&T meant use telephones

to conquer the distances between us,

not touch, but get in touch. But reaching

and touching were the metaphors chosen

because both are so precious to us —

reaching another, being reached and


In our stories, the evil teachers, orphanage heads, etc.

(Dickens’ children are crushed by them)

are people who slap the wrists of those who reach

and forbid having things or one another.

If you would make people sick and eventually dead,

tell them over and over that they must not touch,

must not have, must not reach. Work hard

to make reaching and touching dangerous.

A baby, untouched, is sickly and whiny,

and, growing, remains emotionally stunted.

This is a 100% thing, no mere-fraction-of-a-%

virus. Who are these masked men, anyway,

who tell us we must not reach and must not touch?

Who are these masked people who arrange

our loneness?

Where do we all belong?

I hear we no longer shake hands. But our hands

are shaking more.

All The Lonely People
Illustration by Petrina Sharp

by Dean Blehert of Virginia.
Copyright © By Dean Blehert. All Rights Reserved.