Judy Koren: Better Late Than Never

(On reading the latest psychological
research into my condition)

After thirty years of explanations
(shading into remonstrations)
that one-thing-at-a-time’s passé
since multi-tasking’s here to stay,
that Generations X and Y
do different things with thumb, mouth, eye
each with its separate slice of brain
why can’t you do that? they complain.
Why can’t you stir-fry with one hand
while texting friends in half the land
or talk to Cousin Jane in Rome
and at the same time write a poem?

In business too it’s elemental
that multi-tasking is essential:
you need to field a client’s call
so that they’ll think you're on the ball
while finalizing a report
and writing invoices – in short
a one-track mind’s no use these days:
you need to split that mind three ways . . .


How nice when, decades passed, you’re told
(although, these days, you're getting old)
that really what brought you success
was your single-mindedness?
That yours is more coordinated,
focused, project-orientated
and that the younger generation
can’t equal you for concentration.
Guess what? You were right all along -
(and ha! – the others plainly wrong!)
Great ego-trip! To be admired –
now that you’ve finally retired.