Science & Technology
Fahrenheit 451 Revisited
(or, "The Inevitability of Virtuality")


"If your eyes deceive you,
pluck them out!" the preacher cried.
The Man with X-Ray Eyes*
raked his sockets clean
and stared into the camera,
his fresh, almond concavities
bloody as newborns.

He was glad for darkness, tired
of seeing others naked,
their capillaries, organs dissolve
to endless transparencies
like the partitions of a chambered nautilus
turned to glass. As each new surface
failed him, he more feared
to reach the center.


Someday the cold separation
between you and this screen will melt away,
a virtuality receptacle be implanted in your brain
(most likely in your occipital lobes)
so you can jump the pixilated fence
into the house of fractals without tether.
But there will still be books?

Imagine the perfume
of sweet Moroccan leather
from the mint antique volume in your hand,
a glass of brandy backlit by a fire
and your late retriever curled at your feet.

Hours pass, days even,
before the ejection sequence.
You have just used three seconds
to read The Brothers Karamazov twice
though you miss your dog terribly.

*The Man with X-Ray Eyes is a science fiction movie from the 50s starting Ray Milland.

Copyright 2008,  C.E. Chaffin

C.E. Chaffin edited The Melic Review for eight years prior to its hiatus. Widely published, he has written literary criticism, fiction, personal essays, as well as being the featured poet in over twenty magazines. Hes appeared in The Alaska Quarterly Review, Byline, Contrary, The Cortland Review, Envoi, Kimera, Magma, Pif, The Pedestal, the Philadelphia Inquirer Book Review and Rattle, among others. For more of his work visit his website at

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