Discover more from Reboot
& No Girls on the Internet:
Kernel Magazine Issue 3 is out now! We’re releasing just a few pieces this week — so far, the editor’s note, and an interview with Charles Broskoski, co-founder and CEO of Are.na. For access to all of our pieces now, please purchase a copy of the magazine!
For today, we have two beautiful poems from Dana Chiueh.
1. Goldenrods follow the data centers where the personas live and lounge. Twenty puffs of carbon for an email, stoking more wilderness by the season. Inside, a tangle Of girlhood: ketamine therapy, Betterhelp, Tom and James want to adopt your child and give them a much better future than you ever could, with big city enrichment activities egg donation, Mirena IUD, eyelid and lip tuck, they are waiting, patiently, with their shiny yellow jaws for you to tell them who you are. 2. In 2049 the Internet Archive opens its jaws and swallows me whole with its pulsing retroactive memory. Today I can only glimpse the feeling of its cage: this vision of California, a funhouse where my networked existence chases me like a shadow and the streetlamps light my face for capture by bounding box. Call it an information need. Washing my face with a water that knows my name and insists I’m spelling it wrong. In Oklahoma, there’s a girl I feed with every search term. I hold her, my arm’s-length reflection. All day the hallucinations talk to themselves in rooms I enter only sideways, in packets, like a shadow. 3. As a user, I’m a liar and a puppeteer. One keypress on main and I’m undone, three years of incognito a mere trail of sales leads. She pirouettes, selling new algorithmic diagnoses, plasma donation, worse things for money. For this hunting ground I may hold someone’s hand through the phone. I may taste the pleasures of being wanted and seen. I may surrender myself, delicately, in this theater while my violent reproductions dance and dance.
No Girls on the Internet
When I was a netizen, I thought about bound feet at least five times a year. I drank soup off Chinese TV following the recession’s march through several continents I stole migrant foodways to rebrand as weight loss miracles It’s been three suns since I remembered the specific oppression of pretty feet and F size clothing and arguments to each other’s mirror about knee highs on our specific racialized 15 year old legs Our great grandmas wore size fours, too expensive to walk When I was a netizen, I wore an avatar for a body customized and dressed by a white mouse emoji girl: black hair, regular feet and the internet was dense with my body its echoes bigger than its footprint When I was a netizen, I got to keep my face to put whitening cleansers on and K-beauty lip stains and Euroamerican colors and foundation shades named purity grace and healthy, which was mine But I was an American. Safe ill-marketed to, loving / enough of the global neocolonial machine and sex tourist teachers and universal healthcare and deferred payment apps holding my hand at the crosswalk from the 7-11 to the helmet shop Grown up flower girl, still scattering accounts like ashes over the graveyarded webs we could call home We lived and died by narrative convenience and marketing searching for reflections in unkind interpretations is there strength? in us always being seen as each other, in each other We mourn ourselves by our walk but can no longer tell them apart
Dana Chieuh is a poet, journalist and technologist. Her current influences include Molly Brodak, Maged Zaher and Sasha Gordon.
Thanks for reading! We think poetry, fiction, and other creative work are integral to a holistic understanding of technology. If you liked these poems — you’ll find lots more in this issue!
Swimming in the internet archives,