silicon valley sonnets

~after Diane Seuss


I should have been a hacker, or even a daemon,

living on the fringe, off the grid, relegated

to spam. I’d had one gigaflop after another

so it was natural that I’d get the cold boot,

take up residency in a cache of  has-been bionics.

But then I made a big platform play, hockey-

sticked my way back into the venture game.

How’s that for navigating a neural network?

What’s down is up—who cares if I’m hawking

vaporware. Aren’t we all just a wee pixel

away from our alternate reality? & in the mean

time, we burn through bandwidth like Netflix

in a pandemic, butt dial irrational numbers

& overwrite the universal operating system.


I should’ve been a data miner or Bezos—

either one would do when digging for gold.

Instead I opted out, spending my days surfing

the web & watching old technology sunset.

I could have been an internet troll, stealing

IP & crashing databanks. But this machine

is way up the learning curve. It’s a question

of compression, of zipping up one’s files

before maxing out of memory. Still, if our

systems were to handshake, align in some

agile but buffered way, would you love me

the next day? And could I, the queen of drag

& drop authenticate my emotions, a built-in

latency & pivot to loving every quark of you?


I should have been a robot or at least a chatbot—

I’d feel no pain at the edges of my extended reality.

Humans are so expendable & expensive these days.

I just want to slip into a worm hole or lie in a data field

during a big cloud migration. Look there’s a bunny!

I could have been an avatar, a virtual world star.

My Third Life eclipsing all others until I right clicked

my way into hibernation mode, used my downtime

to restore my original features. How do I look? I know

it’s so artificial of me to be phishing for compliments

when I could be multi-tasking with Musk, could be

automating the future. But I’ve been a Burner, seen

the rapture. I’ve changed the world so often, it hurts

like a brain freeze. Come on baby, let’s cryogen mine!

Heidi Seaborn is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal and author of Give a Girl Chaos and two chapbooksSince Heidi started writing in 2016, she’s won or been shortlisted for over two dozen awards. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Journal, Copper Nickel, The Cortland Review, The Greensboro Review, The Missouri Review, The Slowdown with Tracy K. Smith and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Poetry from NYU.