Volume 26, Number 1

Comes a time

Comes a time when people
stop wanting to become people and
instead become objects—
they say: I want a tablet,
a smart phone, or car, and
that is to say: I am a tablet,
a smart phone, or car.
I am circuitry without emotions,
the possessed possessor
wired for utility.
If there’s a short
I can be rebooted,
can fix the structural damages
with cosmetic façades, sleek new designs.
These days, to pay someone
the ultimate compliment is to say:
you look like a bag of money.
This is the era of
the mechanization of people
(although people haven’t really
been people for a while).
The era of the
humanization of machines,
where technology is no longer
a tool for production but
a productive partner,
where phones are programmed
to be sensitive, with algorithms
for distinct personalities
offering comfort through
the company of their voice,
where devices give advice
commonly reserved for
the sanctity of friendship
just because they
“know us better.”
This is the era of drowning,
submerging selves under
a deluge of data and virtual imagery:
a world of numbers dreamt up
all to escape another
world of numbers.

—Steven Bernal