Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet

Message Left on Voicemail II (2006)

Back in the day, just after the Age of Bakelite and before the age of Nokia, we had answering machines with cassette tapes in them. I loved the idea of that, that you could keep a sequential tape of the messages people had left for you. It turned out to be not quite like that. I once played a tape like this which became a series of me and/or my partner saying ‘Hello.. it’s me. Are you there?…’
I could justifiably have entered this for the Turner Prize as the experience is full of unspoken joys and dramas that the listener would have to invent, as well as a pervading sense of desperation to get in touch.
Subsequently, possibly as a response to my fascination with the device, I wrote a series of poems based on telephone conversations and voicemail messages as this, after all, is the way we live today.

This one was published in the online magazine ‘Underground Window’ which has since gone the way of all flesh.

Message Left on Voicemail II

sorry i missed you.
i didn’t want to miss you
but that’s the way things go.

i didn’t think i’d miss you.
i’ve missed you a lot

i shouldn’t be sorry to have missed you
if i hadn’t missed you
i wouldn’t keep ringing.


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