Personal note: I first heard this wonderfully clever poem about cell phone usage, as had probably many thousands of others, on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac, back in February 2009. I say "many thousands" because Bilgere says he's had more feedback about that poem than any other, as has Garrison Keillor; this is further born out by the way it is scattered all over the web, almost always in the context of The Writer's Almanac. I can still remember the stretch of road along which I was driving at the time, and my frantic attempts to grab a pencil and paper and write down the name of the poem and poet. Luckily it was an empty stretch of rural road -- it's ironic that I wasn't behaving much differently from someone texting on a cell phone.
I've recited this poem probably more than any other, partly because it is short, partly because of its Billy-Collins-esque whimsy, and partly because people universally seem to take great pleasure in being exposed to it -- even people who undoubtedly are at other times glued to their phones.
If you read Stephen King's Cell, you can't help but feel a bit different about cell phones. And if you read some of the more recent findings about cell-phone radiation, you realize that the speaker in the poem may not have to murder the lady at the next table -- she'll just do herself in.
Perhaps, in a distant cafè,
And perhaps someone there,
And, like me, he misses the old days,
I liked it
You didn't want to kill them,
O person like me,
after which we could have a cup of coffee,