Digital Schizophrenia

Dear web-crawler, taste these words with caution…

[This is a Wiki-Poem which features mysterious links embedded within the text]

I can swim in existence
as long as i plug in
my device every night.
I pray for a full battery,
strong network receptivity,
reasonable wi-fi availability.
iPhone stays awake,
even while I sleep,
but it rarely rings.

There are other ways
to know somebody
these days.
I follow more strangers
than friends,
and stranger things.
Updating one account,
neglecting some other,
laughing with one face,
and crying with another.

I have abandoned
billions of pixels of myself,
editing, reediting,
cropping, entire galaxies
of supposed selves.
What becomes of the self
that I edit away?
Am i also what i am not?

The Internet archives
every contradiction.

I’ve not been my selfie lately.
As a matter of fact, I’m
between AVIs right now.
My parallel lives,
opened before me,
windows on a screen.
Everyone’s looking in,
but who’s looking out?
Reality is not fully virtual,
no, I am not a catfish,
but I use to be.

Hello, I am Aristophanes and
I’m really lucky to have had so
many friends to say goodbye to.
I am swimming in this existence,
swimming circles around Thebes,
swimming circles in this fish-bowl.

We were all people once,
before we were traffic,
with only one percent of difference
between any of us, genetically speaking.
We who never tired of reinventing, re-framing
our_selves ceaselessly innovating, and
compartmentalizing
the unbroken
line.

Surrogates to socialize, programs to automize,
Legislation to equalize, invasions to harmonize.
Read More >>>

We are micro-processors on a grid,
tirelessly speeding in our vehicles,
Life has never seemed easier;
a reflection in the rearview,
the mirror with a warning:

Caution! Objects in mirror
are closer than they appear.

Combing through static,
looking for rock n’ roll,
it’s all just commercials,
scanning past an FM station:

“and if you think I’m not the one,
log off, log off and we’ll be done.”

Everything accidental
becomes instrumental.
That’s not a phone call,
it’s your alarm going off,
that’s not your alarm at all,
those are sirens in the street.

i think…
If these web sites
were physical spaces,
where would we really go
in these wireless avenues?
Community or depravity?
Gardens or arcades,
casual encounters,
theaters, libraries,
golden temples,
porn, or Soma?
Missed connections?
Midnight rail-yards?
The Palace of Versailles?
Fiberoptic mountaintops?

Forever the flâneur,
there are three sets
of footprints behind me,
always rushing through,
ten thousand megabytes
of curiosities per second.
The search history reads
like roadside attractions:

active volcanoes,
enormous hearts,
dust on the shelves,
sexual sublimation,
paranoid calligraphy,
suburban cosmology,

Sharks are eaten
by sparrows,
the dogs of war are hounded
by the kittens,
tigers lose sleep to opinions
of fleas.
A wolf in no clothing.

The internet
is a weird place.
Life is forgetting:
you won’t remember
most of this horror show,
oh, but it will remember you.

click here to save the world.

Two-dimensional desires,
bounded by preferences,
matched by prejudices,
ranked by subscribers,
vouched for on e-bay,
upvoted, fav-starred,
a timeline cut short,
punctuated by grief,
gosuto en za sheru,
ghosts in the shell;
after you’re gone,
the machine will
remember you:
fond goldfish.

Pardon the intrusion,
I’m collecting data on
Digital Schizophrenia,
a modern phenomenon.
If you or anyone you know
suffers delusions of a beast
that escapes from the browser
and possesses the mind of its host,
triggering episodes of blackout violence
followed by manic & irresponsible Tweeting,
among other curious maladies, Please Contact…

Huh? Thought I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket,
but it’s right here in my hand. Zero missed calls.

Fluidity of identity
is not entirely
lost on me.
Roaming:
bookmarks,
backpages,
drifting,
spyware,
CLICK BAIT,
infinitely
scrolling,
incognito
browsing,
tumbling,
stumbling,
through
chat room
universities,
beheadings,
c a s i n o s,
something
meaningful,
pay per view
symposiums,
CLICK BAIT
amazon dues,
Helvetica blues,
CLICK BAIT
star charts,
source code,
the intercept.
Hunting foxes,
checking traps.
CLICK BAIT
You forget why
you came here.
x-ing windows,
x-ing windows,
x-ing windows,
ad infinitum
Confounded by
Notifications!
On my soul,
e-harmony
is a scam,
so alone.

*pop up:*
Slow it down,
don’t get tripped up
in the web, little spider,
it’s only an intermediary.
What do you need a fox for?

Everyone’s a celebrity now
adored, alone, together
in this pixelated
fever dream.
As in dreams,
the impossible
becomes inevitable.

I’ve seen the profile pics of my generation,
AVIs of kawaii animals and anime girls.
Galleries of glamorous mugshots,
where you’re your own paparazzi.
Our static faces budge not one inch
away from each other, nor any closer.

I’ve seen liquid crystal mercenaries toil
@ endless war. I’ve seen vrai sang as well.

Who are whistleblowers, documenters,
social organizers, citizen journalists,
self-aggrandizing autobiographers,
doublespeak Wiki moderators,
who are paranoid comedians,
yeah, regular riot-makers,

[unspoken: dreamers]

living for the likes and the stars,
holding out for the hearts and the pins.

I’ve seen the average player
nickel and dime’d
into second-life poverty,
while capitalist drones
camp the auction houses,
wreaking havoc
on the crypto-economy.
Real life is not much different.

You don’t have to play by the rules set by thieves.
We practice for this life, in other lives, so
why can’t we seem to get this right?

You can be somebody
for  F R E E
if you speak
a little more louder,
a little more clearly.
Don’t expect a lot,
embrace absurdity.
Tweet your truth,
lose two followers.
Bare your breasts,
gain a thousand.
Be the sea you
wish to change.
Change the sea
you wish to be.
One day you’ll
have to choose.

Unreal City,
the winter fog lay thick
along the Willamette River.
I go wandering.
On an old train bridge,
nameless & made of steel,
I cross over in the mist.
My heart shifts gears,
when the fog thickens,
it appears as if there
were no bridge
holding me up,
no abyss below,
I am simply aloft,
swaddled in a cloud
of dazzling darkness.
I risk the question,
my heart answers:
it chokes the clutch
when I hear a train,
howling in the unknown.
It’s close, and coming closer.

Please forgive the interruption, but you should be use to it by now: Life is weird. You can go from being friends, to being more than friends, to being strangers again. Human relations are risky, it makes us subject to rejection. One must guard against problems created by friendship. Robotic relations can satisfy those sacred spaces of romantic reaction, at virtually no risk. Apollo Realtechnik is pleased to offer a line of android companions, customized to your tastes and desires, emotionally predictable, and eternally loyal. Companionship designed to last, inquire today. (“Love, made to measure, suits you better, than loneliness,” goes the jingle.) Back to the Program.

The engine’s headlamps illuminate the hallway of fog,
the bridge begins to shake. Am I really really here?

A ladder to Heaven,
a trap door to Void,
a portal to Elsewhere.
Crossover in the Mist.

The whistle blast is violent,
but in the space inbetween,
I can distinctly hear a hawk
calling from beyond the veil,
a rebellious shriek that voices
my desperate determinism.
I grasp for the least of hope,
but hope has flown away,
and I will face what comes,
however absurd or accidental,
with both my eyes wide open.
Brakes scream. It’s too late.
Is that my phone vibrating?
The chaos crescendoes,
and there is a Silence.
In that final second,
the light is so bright
I can’t help but shut
my eyes and gasp—

You think you are learning to live,
But you are learning how to die.
“If you desired, speech is silver,
silence is gold, universe is self.”
One foot over the abyss, now
Let it go and win it back again.
The pattern’s always been there.
Dead to the realm of possibility,
Awake to the world of actuality.
That’s not your phone ringing,
that’s an alarm call, answer it.

“Well, what the hell happened? With the train on the bridge?”

“Nothing happened. It was a story. A ghost’s memory. A love song.”

“It’s all been a pack of lies? What an insult, what a fistful of dead flowers.”

“No, a shipwreck.”

“You mean a train wreck.”

“Every word I’ve said is true… it was a shipwreck. There’s no use going back, no moral to salvage in the ribs of a wasted vessel.”

“Surely, if any of this were true, you’d be dead.”

“I’m here before you, I survived the crossing. You want a lesson: don’t be an idiot around train tracks or bridges, they’re dangerous.”

“I’ve put up with enough nonsense. Did the train hit you or not?”

*sigh*

“The train slammed into me with all the weight of the world, and the train blew around me like a silky wisp of smoke on a Februarian breeze. Both at once. What was accidental became instrumental, I learned to dance up on that steel bridge. Metanoia.”

“The whole boat load of sensitive bullshit. Have you ever considered that these delusions may be a side-effect of Digital Schizophrenia?”

Another humble interruption from your pals at Apollo Realtechnik: From the visionaries that brought you the Companion Android, comes a new way to live. Consider the whole of existence from a new perspective, Metanoia. Stay ahead of artificial intelligence, equalize the playing field of neo-Capitalism, stay informed with realtime news or stock feeds, and capture your unique experiences in second by second play back mode. Broadcast your channel and allow your circle to see what you see, live, all from the remoteness of their own Metanoia devices. Hear what the cyborgs are saying, “I feel invincible, sociable, better prepared. I’ve become my device, I’m naked without it. With it, I’m a better person, an improvement on humanity.”

Sirens in the street…
I awake, on a shore,
l’autre cöté du rêves,
unsure of how i’m now
#somewhereoverthesea.
I check for my iPhone,
focus my eyes on the
cracked black screen,
it does not turn on.

I think I’ll be okay.
I don’t know what
to think anymore.

2 responses

  1. You are an artist, challenging yourself and the reader, leaving us with thoughts to digest for a lifetime!!

    03/23/2014 at 16:58

  2. Hello. I am the scrawler of this Internet poem. There is a lot going on here, a kind of deconstruction of social and psychological momentum. You can choose from dozens of links in the text, among them: answers, riddles, footsteps, footnotes, valid distractions, and total zeitgeist. This is an experimentation in my studies of digital humanities and literature; I would appreciate constructive criticism to understand the possible resonance of this poem. Thank you for reading, from the bottom of my pixelated heart.

    03/30/2014 at 14:56

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