My American Name is Money
When you are a woman in the algorithmic state, everyone wants to
taste your data, but you are unsure which of your limbs is data and
which are twitching proofs of God.
You post online a cry for help. “Who if I cried out would see the me in
A cat in a sailor hat walks across the screen and it angers you that she
looks nothing like your childhood pet.
Out the window in the alley, it’s unclear if a roof is being fixed or
destroyed. You wonder how much money have you lost on friendship?
How much on the metaphysics of sky?
On your cellphone, there’s a photo of a barbecued lamb shank. There’s
an emoji of a bright yellow face screaming in terror or joy.
The joke that replaced our democracy kept waiting for the laugh track
to return. I tried to recalibrate my response, tried to say “no, thank
you” without turning off the lights. What misery was left I swept up,
hid away in a cracked jar. I cried out please bring me your cheese fries
longing to be free.
I tried again. I chanted now I called out when.
All the clocks in the underground supermarket struck the same
mistake twice. The clown shoes grew a city on their nose. The locks
picked themselves. The radio swallowed the television which
swallowed an old hunk of cheese.
What I thought was my childhood wore a Groucho Marx mustache on
The joke tap-danced on the wall. The wall tap-danced on the joke.
I clapped my hands together as hard as I could, but I couldn’t make
An Assistant Teaching Professor in Creative Writing at Rutgers University, Joanna Fuhrman is the author of six books of poetry, most recently To a New Era (Hanging Loose Press, 2021). Her next book, a collection of prose poetry about the Internet titled Data Mind, is forthcoming from Curbstone/Northwestern University Press in 2024.
Joanna's Book Recommendations
Tara Betts, Refuse To Disappear
Shelia Maldonado, that’s what you get
Rick Snyder, Here City
Carlos Lara, Like Bismuth When I Enter
These poems are from a forthcoming collection called Data Mind where I wrestle with the experience of being online as a non-digital native. My generation entered the Internet age with a lot of optimism about the possibility of a new kind of community and has watched with anguish as what was sold as a utopian space has instead reflected and magnified all of the horrors and anti-democratic demons of necrocapitalism. Still, the Internet can be fun. Some of the joy and the feeling of connection is real. I am interested in exploring these simultaneous and conflicting realities. I use the trope of the Internet as a way to remix the stories of famous films as well as a way to examine the ancient tension between the mind and the body.