Optical Network

I see a future of a brain wired to the Internet

I imagine closing my eyes at night and shuffling thru

my memories and memories of a million other people

riding the ups and downs of humanity

all from the comfort of my head


Information will be instantaneous and when you walk

into schools of the future, it will appear the children are

all napping. When traveling, you’ll get into your self-driving car

close your eyes, check your email, and then you’ll have arrived.


Instead of people playing on their phones in restaurants

they’ll be sitting with closed eyes, slumped over their

hot, steaming food.  Soldiers will guide robots

on the battlefield, and the real fight will be

delivering high-speed bandwidth to Afghanistan.


The elderly, we’ll hook them up to live

vicariously thru children and grandchildren,

seeing the world thru their eyes experiencing

a first kiss

an angry boss

the birth of a child

…as though for the first time.


We’ll live on and on thru the eyes of others until one day

without our realizing

our pulse stops and our eyes stay closed.


It’s easy to make this sound like dystopia (maybe it is?)

But part of me feels like this future is nearer than we realize

part of me feels like it isn’t bad to feel so connected

we’ll be alone, but at least

we’ll be in good company.



ghost in the machine

rainbow wheel

i hurt computers…deliberately…

i like to open up all the applications at once

and watch the rainbow wheels spin

i like take apart old ones and marvel at the


and old gadgets sit in my dark, moldy garage

never to be touched again


my computer plots revenge

i’m not crazy…i can see the omens:


some songs on my playlist always come up on


certain files always seem to have a


particular websites like to



pictures of

people i’ve forgotten, people I’m trying to forget—

they keep popping up in my albums,



occasionally, i hear it reboot at night

when the house is still and i’m in bed;

i rush into the study covered in sweat

veins churning with adrenaline

only to find my computer…


its display black and hard drive



it’s probably in cahoots with my appliances

its got the brains, they’ve got coils, heat, and

cheaply soldered parts;  i imagine them

dragging me from my bed one night, wrapping their

cables around me, standing around over me with

lit screens


“let’s see what happens when we plug him in.”



Pa$$w00rd$ – an exercise in creative psychology

I never forget my password

Never have to write it down

No, no.  I got it.


It must contain a capital letter

It’s eight characters or longer

Must include a special symbol 

(but not %, *, or @—those symbols are too special)

It’s gotta be easy to remember

But no one can ever guess it!

Cannot have more than three repeating numbers

Or consecutive numbers…because, duh!

Cannot contain a word or phrase that a computer could easily guess

And it cannot be the same as all of your other passwords

Because if it is…what’s the point?


Ok, I got it.  My password is:

My street address number growing up divided by my favorite number

The celebrity name of my first childhood crush and my cat

(how do I combine Emily and Josephine?)



Then I’ll include an anagram of the nickname of my best friend growing up

And include my favorite sports team

(even though I’m not much of a sports guy—the hackers will never catch on!)

Then I’ll randomly replace some of the letters with symbols

And capitalize some of the letters but not the first letter

And for added security I’ll randomly roll a d-10 five times and stick that number…

…at the end, I guess



“This password has been used too recently.”


“Your password has been updated successfully.”



I sing a song to toasters.

I feel like they’ve been taken for granted—

but me, I appreciate my bread golden brown.


I applaud the microwave

with its dings and pre-set settings

and even my $10 clock on the wall.


I marvel at my thermostat, and thank god—

oh glorious god of all things wet and warm—

thank you for my hot shower every morning.


Around the corner is my television, a window

into infinite worlds, flanked by small speakers

because I need an orchestra in my living room.


Upstairs, I’m perhaps most grateful for my flush toilet

simple and unassuming, elegant, but consistent—

it whisks away all things undesirable.


Finally, there’s my computer.


It represents all that is luxurious and frivolous,

powerful and never forgetful, intelligent

but passively waiting for my next click.


It is my connector to the world, where I’ve found

my work and livelihood, dates and

potential future mates, even my house itself.


With its dings and whirs, buttons and mysterious ports,

pop ups and chimes, and that gloriously wide colorful display…

it is a marvel, a miracle, a magic box!


I sit here surrounded by my Facebook and Instagram,

Emails and instant messages, Youtube and Netflix,

and I think to myself: this technological life—it’s good.



Learning to “Like” Myself

It’s hard to “like” myself,

hard to promote me to me,

harder to look inward and not overanalyze:


What am I saying?

How does it sound?

Who now thinks I’m a self-centered prick?


Hard to express emotions

not as a bid for sympathy

but as a way of promoting myself

to myself, for myself.


Because I want to “like” myself.

I want to LOL and YASSSSS!!!

And I wanna give myself a thumbs up,

a high five—a smiley face!


Because I deserve it.

I deserve to “like” myself;

I deserve to be my biggest follower.



File > Save As >


My sisters and I sit upright on a long bench in front of

an old cabin wall. Our hands are on our knees; our

chins, turned up; our faces, mock serious, and my

youngest sister’s expression is starting to break

as Mom focuses and refocuses the camera.


This image is all pixels.  It exists as ones and zeroes.

I don’t have a copy to hold in my hands, to

smudge with my thumbs or stick on the wall.

It’s private, as are the pictures of my old

girlfriend, buried in an unlabled folder on my hard drive.


Although my sisters and I are scattered,

living in three different states, we once

came together for this picture, to play before

the lens, and mock the rigid black and white

family portraits found on the walls of old houses.


Jesus came back…

only briefly (and not to take the righteous)

he came to announce a hotline.


People wanted a more direct connection,

people wanted a way to get support,

and people wanted to hear His voice in times of duress.


The hold music was terrible

Christian Rock—and not the good kind—

turns out angels are much better with harps.


You often got disconnected and would have to call back,

and the dial by name extensions was crazy:

you have to go thru about a million saints before you realize


God is *, of course.


And God, he was never in…or busy…and he’d send you

straight to voicemail

and the voicemail box…it was full.

And so folks stopped calling,

went back to church on Sunday,

went back to praying an singing.


Apparently, it was Jesus’ idea the whole time

so he came back again;

appeared in a Denny’s (he wanted to seem approachable).


The cameras were on and everyone had a million questions

he raised his hands and the world listened carefully

“How do y’all feel about Twitter?”



Nighttime Chimes

My tablet dings when it brings

news of things

news of a world of human beings:


12 dead — shot in a preschool

A car bomb kills seven in Pakistan 

A woman’s been abducted in Austin


My grandma—she’s all about that ‘Puter—and now,

at 86, the filters are off and forwards come flying


Hillary Clinton – Exposed!

Obama’s Real Birth Certificate

Seven Pictures of Adorable Baby Animals


Meanwhile, the apps I’ve forgotten about

beg me to come back


General, your army needs you—free coins available now!

Your house value has increased!  Login to see how much you’re worth.

You have a new LinkedIn connection—check out Heather’s profile!


So much stuff under glass

happening in a flash—a whir—a millisecond

Meanwhile I lie still waiting for the next faithful chime




Then the night is done—I missed my REM

I forgot to dream

A world of chemicals and emotions and distant memories

This world without glass—it will never be


If only I’d been reminded—

if only there’d been a notification


I love to hand wash dishes as my dishwasher

churns beside me.  The bubbles between my fingers,

grit beneath my nails; and the dishwasher blasting away

grease and crusties; we are unified in our efforts.


Similar too is that feeling of driving somewhere far away:

The GPS on my phone silently showing the way,

my car charging underneath me, a soft stallion,

and I at the wheel guiding the whole adventure.


These moments of unity—where flesh and metal,

neurons and transistors come together—remind me when man

domesticated animals, that moment caveman and ox first

looked at each other, nodded, and carried on with mutual survival.




That hot Californian model

curvy in all the right places

slender and sleek, flowing without edges

cool beneath my fingertip…


How I like to press her buttons,

swipe right slooooowly,

click her vibration motor on…off…on…off,

whisper into her receiver.


We met a year ago,

but now there’s another—

I never thought anything could be so beautiful:

passion has a retina display.


Now you, year old lady

of metal, glass, and electricity—

though you plead me in your soft monotone voice—

you’re vintage, a trade-in.


Don’t worry, you’ll be

disassembled, melted down,

recycled, and then someday we’ll be together once more

to dance the techno tango again.