Monday 9 May 2022

Data Crunchers II -IV Poetry by Peter Donnelly

Data Crunchers II - IV 



Inside the computations

there’s an assimilation of the

very self-ness of self;

it exposes corruptions in record sets.


This taking-in of data,

A huge and soundless harvesting-up of it all:

then wheat in the mill –

the coarse data put into the press,

a sort of something-out-of-nothingness,


a newness computed outwards

through refinement and crunch

and the alchemies of meaning:



of the communicative

via a medium.


“Some nights, I

dream-record backwards,

data-crunching out meaning,

backing up

the files of my life

(knowing some to be corrupted),

trying to sense, again,

the original hard-coding,

feeling out again for the symmetry

in binary


on which an elaborate artifice was built:

experience experienced


through the film of code,


a moving shadow of reality.

This separate world captured


in abstract,

an intangible Rosetta Stone

pulled out from the earth,

dusted down in


its great immensities and precisions of

detail and cypher.


At a distance to them,

we are holograms of reality,

dreaming together.”


There are the deep-downings

of memories,

their increasing reachings

and memories’ memories – these infinity mirrors


of content out there: located

within the endless refraction of subsections,

the folders within folders,


Metadata of metadata

seeks itself in reinterpretation; is


liable and exposed to be plumbed,

tapped, probed;


and then restored, replicated, re-rendered.


This, embedded and low-lying in the


tentacularities of cyber warfare,

has disappeared into

its silent battle-fronts.





Random access memory:


“They are rooms of one entire skyscraper

 That know not one another

 Or how they hold their construct together–

 This builds upwards and outwards,

 Its wholeness recontextualises itself

  Contiguously and continuously.

Building blocks of data

Sublimate and

Fissure in a collective memory.”


Armies of spies and vigilant rogues out there:

out in the great

shadow-depths of the internet,

the forest has ears, and sublimated in a


hive-minded, near-perfect recall,

that trawls and trawls,

deep fakes sit in wait.


Tuning and retuning as the frequencies frisson

at great distance; and

more prosaically,

knowledge amasses passively.





Remember the data wiped and buried; then,

like a man technically dead,

restored and returned into being, it was


excavated, and resurrected:

the separation-space of being

gone but not gone,


            “dividing being and le néant.

Revising and revisiting these files of my life as they are

recontextualised and transmuted

(some perhaps forever corrupted).


Much information in me to be repurposed

out there in the near-perfect recollections

webbing and webbing throughout the ethernet,

an untrackable tangle of jungle.


An error of rendering is inherited

in the transfer between two systems

somewhere out there.”


Interpretative ambivalences

both liberated and walled in

by the language


that is this facilitator and conduit,

the un-locker and limiter of meaning:

connotation integrates imperfectly

and everchangingly,


as the numbers – which know more than they

will say, their content encrypted

and compressed – are crunched – become

minced into metaphor.

Born in Dublin in 1988, Peter Donnelly’s first collection, Photons, was published by Appello Press in 2014. Following its publication, playwright Frank McGuinness commented that "Peter Donnelly already shows he has a strong imagination; indeed, a savage one presents itself on occasion when the beautiful and brutal confront and confound each other." His second collection, Money Is a Kind of Poetry, was published by Smokestack Books in 2019; it has been described as “a meditation on contemporary alienation and the processes by which every new technological advance seems to increase our isolation from each other, and the more connected we are the less we appear to know ourselves.” He is currently working on a third collection.


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