Milestone Years

The first few milestone years
passed:

the promised worlds of neural links
wondrous rabbit holes
of digital adventures

didn’t come

and as the years go
on past the books and movies

we see an unexpected dystopia:
all the downsides

without the bright-eyed interfaces
illuminating datascapes to virtual sight

and still we stumble along crumbling bridges
following flickering flames
through the dark

Data is soulless.

Only digital ghosts keeping me company while I’m in bed, waiting for something to happen, something to shift in the neon maze of cyberspace, now mostly switched to off, the remainders dimmed, muted, grey light mingling with faint voices, echoes of steps not really taken by anyone. There is pain in my body tonight and I try to fade myself into some alcove of this fleeting texture woven from millions of messages not meant for me and pictures passing by and vanishing again, streams of code I cannot see but feel, an insane non-physical machinery grown over decades, partly build, partly haphazardly thrown together, brick-a-brac output of innumerable human minds and their creations.

Connected, but alone – watching more data float by in a minute than my ancestors would have been able to access in a day, a month, a year, and – way back – even in a decade or a lifetime. Data is soulless, disembodied from its purpose, if viewed somewhere between point of origin and destination, and most of the time it’s not interesting enough to encourage looking for the creator, the recipient, and make sense of the intention put into whatever it is that just drifted by. It’s like hanging in limbo in a stacked mirror void, instead of actively following them just passively watching trickles, currents, and maelstroms of information moving along invisible grids, for a moment lighting up like a meteor just to fade again in the distance, already forgotten. Everything is sped up, and yet time seems to be stretched like thin skin over monitors, small red vessels beating diminutive reminders of life, of precious moments running out, but I still stare and wait, something might occur at any given time, watch, wait, be there, but everything that happens will in turn fade and be just a part of the black void of waiting. Data is soulless, and it’s a bad companion.