Gremlins in the web.

black laptop computer turned on showing computer codes

Suddenly, it happens: a tear in the fabric between the real and the virtual, blurring the distinction again. From the messenger, an unbidden memorandum of old photos, remember this?––and you don’t, and who took these, and the answer, you already know, is any one of the someones in your circle, keeping constant vigil on the eerily mundane, to send it back to you in surprise morsels like this, to knock your balance slightly in time like a friendly hip-bump on a moving train. 

Another call, appearing local, heralds an automated voice. A mixed sense of betrayal and vague remorse after hanging up. Surely there are better directions for these sentiments.

Open the screen at your lap, looking. How many windows open simultaneously in this chamber and what gale comes to rattle the lamps? The curtains are gone since the last storm, a pretense anyway. The office party returns to the bedroom. See the frozen faces, pixel blossoms and broken voices, seeming to speak. One emits partial words, something like a sentence, beginning with We and ending with Here before the screen goes dark.


Inspired by (and with borrowed images from) the opening pages of Nathan Allen Jones’ Glitch Poetics, Open Humanities Press (2022).

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

2 thoughts on “Glitch”

  1. I sent a photo like that yesterday (via facebook) to a very old friend who I’m out of touch with. Three of us eating crabs on my dad’s patio circa 1985. Like facebook itself, the photo is a stand in for real communication.

    1. That sounds like a happy memory. I have more often been pleasantly surprised by these than not, but occasionally an algorithm sends me an old one from a group chat or something that I really can’t contextualize. : ) I hope your old friend got a great smile out of this one, Jeff. Last time I got one of that sort it really made my morning.

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