A Systems Engineer’s Diffraction Grating

We treat these systems as powerful as the forces of nature. As immutable as the laws of physics. That these algorithms sprung up out of nowhere. That trying to make gig labor suck less will put people out of jobs. That recycling doesn’t do much, but it’s better than nothing and that’s worth the greenwashing smug feeling as the smiling coffee cup gets tossed in the blue bin. That it’s impossible to untangle the web of supply chains and find out exactly which subsubsubsubcontractor is using the child labor.

But all of these systems started from somewhere. A hot or not website. A “just war”. A belief that demand will always meet supply. The concept of deserving.

With dedicated nurturing (though they’d never admit it), the ivy grew and grew until it gnarled around the tree, thick and inextricable from the tall branches. We cited tree law and argued about “fault”, letting the vine intertwine further, sucking ever more nutrients out of the tree, which was really only standing because it was so strong to begin with.

Yet, you can still cut the ivy at the root.

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Grand Unified Theory

The answer to the communication puzzle is a two-way dialogue.
The answer to the constant need for aggregation and collation is to just write words down, but the act of fixing them with a formulated phrase causes them to change, to morph.
That is not what I meant; that is not what I meant at all.

“If I look back, I am lost” said the Queen of Editors, as she stepped forward into the narrative.

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Poetic Random Nerve Firings

When an engineer brags that they don’t like fiction That their bookmarks are filled of Medium articles and business koans Isn’t there something lost? You can not consume all the media in the world You can not consume all the media you want to consume You can not consume all the media you need to […]

The Nameless

Today, I traded scars with a friend.
We smiled when we saw they lined up,
despite the time and distance.

He told me of another friend,
who I had been carrying with me,
but didn’t realize he knew.

I first met her in a Princeton machine shop,
greeting her with a somber silence.
She was undeterred.

Once, a classmate interrupted her approach,
saying I needed to put my hair in a bun,
giving me a small insight into her life.

And now, here she was again.
Causing the destruction
of what my friend loved
– unintentionally –
but with a graphic description.

She’s been made mythic.
A sacrifice to The Engine
A curse in the daylight
The reason for change
Regretted yet ignored

But all I know of her are her whispers:
A boy in the closet
A girl on a bridge

Tea Eggs (茶叶蛋)

Started off as a zephyr post on 8/5. Finished on 9/25 and queued since then. A bit of a reflection on the comic book, American Born Chinese, which I am obligated to like as an ABC myself. A pseudo spoken-word piece.

So I’m staying at my aunt’s place, right? And every now and then, she makes tea eggs for breakfast and gives some to me. One day, I was taking one, and she says “Did you know that your dad told me once ‘I swear – I’m never going to let my kid go to school with a 茶叶蛋 in her lunchbox’.

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Leaving behind
shirt, screen, eyes.

Bringing along
fear, worry, wonder.

A half-hearted fence that still hides in the shadows.
Search lights pointed at a playground with no swings.
Darkened dead-ends with only the neighbors' lamps on.
Moon outshining all with its cold white cowrie shell.

Before you realize it was darkest right by your home.
Lying down, thinking not of England but of the stars.
Framing a narrow sliver of sky, carved by your knife.
Moonlight, searchlight, the small twinkling overhead.

A spark!
 (or a jet?)
 (can't say for sure)

Exhaustion overtakes, chaining you to the driveway by
(tent city)
caressing you with the cool warmth of mild California
(yellow smoke)
summer weather while the night bugs sing you the song
(is it truly home)
of the stars; the longer you listen the more the tune
(if you never stay there?)
becomes clear, the sky brightens, the secrets - freed

Another one!
 This time, real.
 Swift turtle's got tail.

(your mind rattles)
(full of words)

so you come back in
trading starlight
for a backlight
struggling to
the phase
of your