(not quite) a literary journal


Hum and Data, by Mitchell Grabois


The hum of electric wires
of computer servers, of laptop fans

the hum of the economy
faltering, renewing

pensions given and taken away
limbs given
and taken away
heads injured but still closed
keeping their dull secrets
the hum of universal dissatisfaction

The writing teachers say: hold fast to your dreams
the retirement counselors say: hold fast to your dreams

The hum of industrial activity
moves from place to place
like a swarm of wasps



Tens of thousands of data centers feed
a spiraling multitude of web sites
Rows of servers spread over millions of square feet
in warehouses which were once fields of crops
pumpkins shining orange against the black soil

Me and my brothers roamed the fields
having pumpkin fights with the failed ones
trying to be careful not to smash any good ones
most of the time succeeding

I still live in the old farmhouse
though there is no land around it
not even enough for a garden

The data centers run at max
round the clock
I hear the data buzz like bee hives
growl like packs of animals

I smell it burning
I get up in the middle of the night
and drink orange juice
but I can’t get the taste
of data
out of my throat

My hearing is too acute to live here
and I don’t even hunt anymore

Tip Jar
hum and data.jpg

Mitchell Grabois lives in Denver, Colorado. His poetry and fiction has been published in literary journals across the world. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle, Nook, and in print.