Digital Autobiography

Bethan Tyler

“Nothing I know matters more
than what never happened”

—“Hearsay,” John Burnside

Wherever I sleep, there’s always
someone rummaging through the bins
at dawn: a fox, a raccoon, a person
after the after-effects of my life,
My corks & my crumbs, my cotton balls
slick with skin cells & glycolic acid.
I don’t mind. I leave the blinds open
while I dress, I tell the Internet all
my best stories. I’m just being pragmatic:
Bezos owns my life anyway. Data,
he calls it, as though a soul can be reduced
to strings of binary. I’ll have the last laugh,
I’ll let the corks & crumbs, like tea leaves,
dictate my impossible future. I’ll write
narratives & anti-narratives, let the foxes
pick the right conclusion.

When I was born, the stars arranged themselves
accordingly. Call it astrology, call it magic, but
I was born under Pisces, to the music of foxes &
a cheap CD of Crowded House my mother
preferred to an epidural. Or call it data,
call me grooves on a CD, ready to be played.
I don’t mind. I still believe in small magic, in
happenstance & surprise. Bezos knows this, too,
sells me acids, incense, books of poetry. But
poems make new worlds, so let this be
my incantation. Let this be my
fragmentation. I won’t let you write me
in ones and zeros. I was born under Pisces,
to a pair of foxes making music in the bins.
I’ll be a perfect string of twos.

Bethan Tyler is a disabled poet and former radio DJ. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her partner and a cat named Suzie (after Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”). Her poems have previously been published in The Chattahoochee Review, Fjords Review, and Redivider.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Six.

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