Surface Tensions

Sea and seeing.

It was the black boxes that haunted you at first. Now you tell stories with mirrors, some of which transform into windows. It’s never clear which is which.  What pulled you was the possibilities for world building, the hypnotic vastness. Your mind was drawn to portals, the potential thresholds lurking at the edges of the ordinary. You wonder what happens when sight turns into a nightmare, and no one notices. As an antidote, you watch the sea. It reminds you of an invitation to return somewhere. You hope it is. You hope it may return you to seeing.


Inspired by, and with borrowed phrases from Krish Raghav’s interview with Josh Riedel (BOMB magazine), on Riedel’s novel, Please Report Your Bug Here.


Gremlins in the web.

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).


Corresponding data suggests.

Here’s the tearing sky again; hold it close. See if you can stand a minute inside the detonating histories of the next flyover. I read this morning that the spider relies on the wind to spin fibers of a web between trees and still they go one loop at a time and my faith, by comparison, is weak. If light can be particle and wave, then knowing must be mind and universe at least, and maybe also body, in its necessary histories, these visions of the past, dreamed and remembered fresh with each new vision of the days ahead. Now what.