we are part of the records we keep

– Gayatri Spivak



and the word flares trumpets
shining webs
connect me
dissolving time and space


soaked with information
all there is to know
the little wire
next to my bed


the net
feeding the teenage son
waiting in line for the pass


shaking the numbness from the shoulders

the arms


my best friend lives two thousand miles away
and every day
my fingertips bleed distilled intimacy

trapped Pavlovas
dance, I curse, dance
bring her to me

the bandwidth of her smell


years ago I lay twisted below the terminal
the keyboard my only hope for work
for continuity

my stubburn shoulders
my ruined spine
my aching arms

suspended above my head soft green letters
reflect back:

Chapter One
no one can see you
Chapter Two
your body is filtered here
Chapter Three
you are not alone


oh seductive metaphor
network flung over reality

filaments spun from the body
connections of magic

who will see the spaces between?

the thread trails in front of me
imagine a network with no spaces between
fat as air

as talk

this morning in the cold Illinois winter sun
an old man, or perhaps not so old
made his way in front of a bus his aluminum canes inviting

spider thoughts

a slow, a pregnant spider
the bus lumbering stopped

and in the warm cafe I read of networks and cyborgs

the clean highways of data
the swift sure knowing

that comes with power

who will smell the factory will measure the crossroads
will lift his heavy coat from his shoulders

will he sit before
the terminal


it's too late for romance
the chestnut tree blooms no more
the corn and pigs in this vast flat place

travel the network too
their genes secure in stock indexes

it's too late for bitterness

but still there is a space

in the net

a choice of cyborgs
oh brave new world

for the courage to choose the mundane

the rough wool of a winter coat
draped over an old back
a smell, a feel of her hair
the unfamiliar intimacy of the dancing letters

or survival


am I the only one who strokes the scars

the Frankenstein neck
who wonders
when the stitches will come

"The Net" by Susan Leigh Star, in Ecologies of Knowledge. Work and Politics in Science and Technology, pp. 29-32.