~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 chapbooks. Since 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. www.heidiseabornpoet.com