Christian Wessels

ROM CYCLE

Motherboard, logic board, in your sound card
A trauma clicks its tongue, reminds the screen
And what confronts the screen has a mouth:
(I do not bite my nails but eat my thumb):
The theme of this internal structure: binary
Systems: the image recedes into ones and zeroes:
A tab with profiles of mad cow disease,
Another tab with a random word generator,
“Chalazion,” “halation,” “bubble”:
My eyes are writing code when the program fails
To boot, I am left with photos of a houseplant
As screensaver, then an error message:
What’s behind the screen is my window screen,
Behind that, an ode without a chant:

*

Motherboard, logic board, in your sound card
Life is muffled in its earliest grooves:
Why would I go outside to hear a jay
Cry when computers are the proxy bird:
Proxy dilettante: proxy poet
With a random word generator,
It chants its code: I am the robot the human
The robot human the self who eats his thumb:
Approximately my head weighs this much,
A jay-worth of mass: if you’re not having fun,
You suck: zero, one, one, one, zero, one:
Replace the jay with a wind chime
That automates the breeze, conductor tongue
Between magnet teeth and gingivitis:

*

Motherboard, logic board, in your sound card
Is a sound-loop of wordless voices:
Parent #0: Parent #1: if I had to describe to
Anyone what happened, I couldn’t
And neither could my other self: this is because
Zero, one, zero, zero: memory is volatile
Unless programmable, erasable:
Which is what I achieve and do not achieve
Here in this poem: the human is manic
Now depressive now neither is nor or not:
I have come along I have nothing to worship
But the neither/nor, the human record:
Approximately a computer weighs as much
As its screensaver: the houseplant: the wind chime:

*

Motherboard, logic board, in your sound card,
Believe me, in your sound card input and output,
In your wavetable, there were stone candlesticks
Pitched at a head: synthesis: modulation:
After which police were notified and Parent #0
Justified the child had bloodied his body
Himself, which made some sense: waveform:
Synthesis: the child hid out back in saltbush
Draped over a burrowing hornet’s nest:
Wavetable sweeping: cleaning up glass
Later back in the kitchen where Parent #1
Did not confront Parent #0 but put on a record,
I mean, turned on the computer and searched
Browser history for the lost tab on dying jays:

*

Motherboard, logic board, in your sound card
Is a language generated through
Random slurs, confessions, and reproaches:
A sentence begins with a choked-on breath:
Zero, one, one, zero: the envelope
Of a signal: the theme of this internal structure:
The image recedes: the image recedes:
If I had to tell you what happened: erasable:
Programmable: the human is programmable
To believe that the computer is a jay:
Now depressive: now neither/nor is not
Enough to suspend the sound: proxy chime
Against the image of the stone candlestick:
Approximately my logic board weighs this much.

*

01100110 01100001 01110100 01101000 01100101
01110010 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010
01100111 01101001 01110110 01100101 00100000
01101101 01100101 00100000 01101101 01111001
00100000 01101001 01101110 01101010 01110101
01110010 01101001 01100101 01110011


CHRISTIAN WESSELS is a poet from New York. His work has recently appeared in Gettysburg Review and the websites of AGNI and Kenyon Review. He is the recipient of fellowships from Boston University and the Stadler Center for Poetry. 


Issue Six
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