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Viral Information

Viral Information





Virus - a word much heard not just at this time of year ('there's a lot of them about') but one that's spilled quasi-metaphorically into other non-biological areas, you might say succeeding virulently... gone viral?

 But that's what viruses do, and do very well.

Fulfilling only some of the criteria for qualifying for life status, here are strange creatures indeed, not that that's the right word at all - not organism, more construction, set of instructions or even just a programme.  So the use of the word in computer malfunction is hardly metaphorical...

Approaching this extraordinary - but so frequently encountered, so in a way not extraordinary at all -  thing (I find myself reduced to using this rather weak word) that may be represented in (admittedly astronomically colossal) sequences of numbers, with words - all that poetry possesses, however they may be presented - poses problems. 

So I thought I'd turn to a different sort of poetry: prose poetry... 


Viral Information

Control V
we am millions millions we am no more than numbers we am identical fresh printed we am just instructions we does not speak these words you hear is your own words we cannot count we has no need for brain or fingers we cannot move but leap across continents through others’ cells virulent we is packed full of power to invade and take over so we can live our peculiar way although you may die we does not feel blind deaf and senseless we know how to adapt am neuter still dependent on you we assembles ourself into our millions the millions we am no more than numbers

Control A
Control C
Control V
we am millions millions we am no more than numbers we am identical fresh printed we am just instructions we does not speak these words you hear is your own words we cannot count we has no need for brain or fingers we cannot move but leap across continents through others’ cells virulent we is packed full of power to invade and take over so we can live our peculiar way although you may die we does not feel blind deaf and senseless we know how to adapt am neuter still dependent on you we assembles ourself into our millions the millions we am no more than numbers


Control A
Control C
Control V
we am millions millions we am no more than numbers we am identical fresh printed we am just instructions we does not speak these words you hear is your own words we cannot count we has no need for brain or fingers we cannot move but leap across continents through others’ cells virulent we is packed full of power to invade and take over so we can live our peculiar way although you may die we does not feel blind deaf and senseless we know how to adapt am neuter still dependent on you we assembles ourself into our millions the millions we am no more than numbers

Control A
Control C
Control V
we am millions millions we am no more than numbers we am identical fresh printed we am just instructions we does not speak these words you hear is your own words we cannot count we has no need for brain or fingers we cannot move but leap across continents through others’ cells virulent we is packed full of power to invade and take over so we can live our peculiar way although you may die we does not feel blind deaf and senseless we know how to adapt am neuter still dependent on you we assembles ourself into our millions the millions we am no more than numbers

Control A
Control C
Control V

we am millions millions we am no more than numbers we am identical fresh printed we am just instructions we does not speak these words you hear is your own words we 



... prose poetry, a form which, like a virus, straddles categories.

I've abandoned punctuation, capital letters, enjambment and stanzas in an attempt to represent an unimpeded flow of information, breathless and almost mechanical, yet with a curious sort of intelligence; and interspersed Instructions - the method whereby the intact message simply repeats itself, and thus reproduces, virulently...

Comments

  1. interesting. viruses (virii?!) are symbiotic/embedded with humanity in the way language is too. I wonder which is more ancient. Yet virus remain significantly 'other' and beyond language. I think you have captured something of this otherness in your poem. I imagine the font changing too. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for those thoughtful comments. Interesting question (leaving aside that intriguing language one) about who's oldest... were viruses (yes, difficult with singulars and plurals, as my poem tried to suggest!) around before us, waiting for our arrival, or did they need us before they could begin their 'life' - or did they even spring in some ghastly way from us/our cells, like Satan being originally an angel?
      Perhaps they used a good few million years to practise on lower life (eg botanical) forms before tagging onto us...

      Delete
  2. Atisshooooooooo!

    ReplyDelete

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