Be the first to like this

Be the first to like this
kicking pine cones down the street
climbing the backyard cherry tree
lying in new sheets
waking in darkness   waking to snow
how your chest thickens when you’re scared
how your voice bubbles when you’re pleased
be the first to like
view of wind turbines from the train
golden tint on a glass of wine
gliding on rollerblades by the sea
waking so warm   waking on the beach
how your eyes flood when you’re tired
how you laugh when you’re relieved
like bridges creeks Frisbees
silly cat videos and Instagram photos
like strolling with a friend
between folds of trees
and your heart rolls out a big pink wave
and your lips recall something sweet
like skiing and ice-skating
zip-lining above trees at seventy clicks
blood thudding in your ears
like every new experience because it was new
to you   pocketed in your memory
like the first time you fed the ducks
at Stanley Park
and they stormed like villagers
to your feet
Theresa Muñoz

first published in Gutter 08 (August 2013)

Reproduced by permission of the author.
Theresa Muñoz

Theresa Muñoz was born in Vancouver, Canada to Filipino parents and now makes her home in Edinburgh. She has won a British Columbia Arts Council Award and has been a prizewinner in the McClellan and Troubadour poetry competitions. She wrote her PhD thesis on the work of Tom Leonard at the University of Glasgow.

She is the online editor for the Scottish Review of Books and a regular contributor to the Herald's book pages. Her poetry pamphlet Close was published by HappenStance Press in 2012.

Read more about this poet
About Be the first to like this

This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2013. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, consisting of 20 poems chosen by a different editor each year, with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor in 2013 was David Robinson.

Editor’s comment:

At last, a Facebook poem – and one that would work brilliantly in performance. Anyone who has ever been ill for a long time knows the seeming impenetrability between the world of ill-health and of the bubbling vitality and joie de vivre captured here. It’s more than just a list, especially when, half way down the poem ‘like’ becomes an instruction, amplified in successive lines, and the new memories of happiness reach back to the very oldest, when there wasn’t a Facebook at all and no way of sharing memories of all the things that make life worth living.

Author's note:

I am intrigued by phrases from social media that have become commonplace in daily language. This poem is an interpretation of the phrase 'Be the first to like this' which is an option after reading friends' statuses on the social network Facebook. Updating one's status is a personal activity, and having people digitally 'like' your status implies seeking others' approval. I thought I would subvert the understanding of the phrase by taking it out of others' control and focusing on the experiences of individuals, especially when trying out new things.

I grew up on Canada's west coast and many of these images are nostalgic gestures towards my suburban upbringing. This poem is from a longer sequence that explores phrases and phenomenon in social media and makes them more personal and individual.

n/a