a preference for paper cuts

I read a stunning line today-

all identity is digital identity 
at this point.

Then realized
I wanted but don't have a counter argument.

Then realized
I couldn't measure mass and volume
in digital spaces.

Then realized
I can't imagine the dimensions of my digital

in a relative comparison.

All identity?

One that explains
why we Like until our bark expands and splits;

One that enfolds 
the outside around no story inside;

One that gives little
shadow and shade to our heat right now;

One that feeds slow uncertainty 
and brisk tourism;

One that might slow our keystrokes,

caution our hands to hold our thoughts,
for one moment longer. 

That next post,

that 'one more email',
slides along the thin lip of a flume
that has been draining into a cosmos

we have staked out,
but not mapped.

For some,
the device in their hand still feels like magic.

Swiping, pinching, scrolling, zooming
over landscapes once made 
of paper and pulp,

can feel elating.

Science seems like that sometimes.

And our effortless misunderstanding of 
how far we have reached 
without grasping a basic metric,

has to be setting off
alarm bells or
flood warnings
or Richter scales somewhere-

in an ecosystem beyond
our belief.

Hit send.
Press publish.
Tap post.

1 Byte, a letter in the alphabet;
a scribble on a page corner.

10 Bytes, a word.
1 Kilobyte, two paragraphs-
a love note in their lunches.

1 Megabyte; 2100 paragraphs of a short novel.

1 Gigabyte, 900 books you have read, 
or held, or cradled.
1 Terabyte, a reassuring athenaeum of 921600 books.

1 Petabyte, 500 billion pages of text or the digital shelves
vast enough for all printed material


20 Petabytes equals the amount of data processed 


by Google.

1 Exabyte is equal to 1024 Petabytes.
5 Exabytes is a box large enough to store 
all words spoken by human beings.

1 Zettabyte approximates all internet traffic in 2016.
1 Yottabyte could be the size of the World Wide Web

if it were measurable.

Then Brontobyte.
And then Geobyte.
Neither of these units is actually used 

Makes me wonder about what trees knew. 
What conspiracy they brewed,

while they gave up their secreted stories 
in death,

drought, fire, deluge, injury, bounty;

past futures scried from rings,

all those silent lessons in scarcity 
and songs for the finite size of the world  

we missed entirely.

Selfishly, frequently,
we notice only symptoms-
climate change, soil erosion, weak crops,
more greenhouse,

less green house.

I cannot imagine the digital 
equivalent of clear cutting.

But I doubt that email has saved 
enough trees to fulfil the contract 
of our apology.

The problem
wasn't that we thought trees limitless.

It still is that we think ourselves so.

We do not stop.

_ _ _
Inspo and thoughtfuel for this piece can be found in: 
Your Digital Footprint is Bigger than You Realize 
How big is 1MB, 1GB, 1TB, 1PB, 1ZB in real life?
The Sound of Paper


I am in rut. 

in a groove
so long it’s not 
possible to determine
if I'm following
or being 

the sun always
finds me waiting
for it to warm
this tract, 
worn and
winding with edges
soft enough 
to keep
me cradled. 

to keep me safe. 

wandering outside,
along the topside, 
is short lived-
I don’t like
to demystify 
for the scrum,
this emotion
of being 
more satisfied
than settled. 

wanderers and
pass by,
disturb my leaves,
scuff my stones,
bend and break
my blades of

all the while
my rabbit sense 
predatory presence-
a vibrant florid
hunger for 
holds me

some see 
in the way 
I loll 
in the ruffage, 
my hands 
buried deep 
in the loam. 

but to 
my nose and eyes,
a long
measure of the 
balance in
clay, sand,
and silt
can only be
in burrow.

gravity both 
pulls me towards 
the ground,
under its
leafy carpet, 
and draws my hands
to my face
to scry
the forest's


what grows 
from a buried 
a stand 
of spruce
birch oak
in silent
like elders
leaning in
sharing upstretched
bent by wind
clenched by cold
quenched by rain
young and old
maple pine
swapping stories
forgotten times
and fragile futures.
i imagine
the secret of trees
is that they see
themselves like
a family
in the forest
entwined and
buried root
still dreaming
in seeds.