Wi-Fi Poaching by Terry McDonagh, Founding Contributor of Live Encounters Magazine
I wrote this poem, Wi-Fi Poaching, after I’d heard a story, in the west of Ireland, of a stranger who showed up in a village and immediately began accessing broadband while sitting outside peoples’ homes and businesses. His antics became a source of amusement and topic of conversation in the pub. One woman found him sitting at her back door when she returned from shopping and sent him packing. I imagined him ‘milking’ the system for all he was worth. He left as quietly as he came but he won’t be completely forgotten. At least he gave us a laugh.
When you overhear a person in a Mac shop
enquiring about offers on milking stools
and if you,later, see them perched
outside a garage with a gadget or
looking shady in shrubbery, chances are
they are Wi-Fi poachers, free-loaders,
backpacking piggy-backers, cuckoos
relying on mother-goodness to hatch an egg.
Even worse, they might be tuning into matters
intended for personal use or the confessional.
If only football or racing results were at stake,
you could live with it. But no, these people
read in the light of a neighbour’s window to
save on electricity. Have binoculars to hand.
Solution: when sponger’s expression builds
like a transgression, pull the plug on the router
and listen for screams of rage. Put a sign up:
try morse, smoke signals, milk your own system,
knock on my door and allow me to introduce you
to my wireless parrot, Polly.
And what does that tell us? Nothing except
Polly is a parrot and it’s unusual to see a person
milking a gadget in a dark corner next to a garage
after witching hour and not a spider in sight.
© Terry McDonagh