Week 6: Glow

Blue glow — a white window glowing
a black cursor blinking, blinking
fingers quicker than a pianist’s, waltzing
through fiber optic cables, vanishing
into a subterranean snowstorm
of electrons and light

A user name in the command line
a sliver of existence, now here and now there
haunting shells in New York and Tokyo and Sydney
an unannounced visitor, disappearing with a single word

Packets of data, fire ants marching to war
glowworms sparked to life by keystrokes
switches switching like billions of butterfly wings
honeycombed networks, magnetic termite mounds
waterfalls delivered atom by atom, byte by byte

Languages written by languages
cities built by cities
recurring recursions, miniature infinities
abstractions of abstractions
unknowable and incomprehensible, and yet
the simplest idea in the universe:

On or Off
Is or Isn’t
One or Zero

Author’s Notes:

I was really stumped this week, because my mind has been focused on technical things more so than cultural, creative things. But then it occurred to me, at the last minute, to follow that thread. So it’s about computers.

I think this is one of the least complete poems I’ve published so far, because I feel like in the first stanzas I am building a character (the computer user), who just sort of disappears through the end of the poem. I thought this was thematically appropriate, but maybe with more time I’d have tried to resolve it differently.

Favorite Line:
Packets of data, fire ants marching to war

A Line that Might be a Little Bit Much(?):
switches switching like billions of butterfly wings