works > Negotiating Dialogues

Carmen Menza – Negotiating Dialogues
Copyright 2021


Somewhere within our daily markings
Somewhere within the words we speak
Somewhere within our dialogues
We’ve come to understand
That our final destination, our purpose, our primary aspiration is simply . . . human connection
We record our words, one by one
We compose our thoughts page by page
We assemble our pages volume by volume
the scope of our collective stories
weaving desire as threads of hope
laying odds we won’t be erased
We must ask the questions.
How do we begin to know the future?
How do we navigate our path forward?
We feel the shifting soil, this transformation of language
But language is a technology
It is an interface between humans
It is an interface between machines
Before us are the blank pages waiting to be written


How do we begin to see clearly what joins us all?
I dreamt an image the other night
I felt your presence in the humid air enveloping me like a shawl
Your words were like moonlight
suspended low in the nighttime sky, turning darkness to light
Plucking strings out of the heavy air and dissecting them,
breaking open stanzas of code to reveal the sweet meaty mesocarp
And when you had devoured the satisfying fruit you were left with the seed, the pit, the endocarp
which is the genetic beginning of continued copies of yourself, laying odds you won’t be deleted
You are always searching for a desired function
Weaving in the sky some pattern I can trace
every object knows its type
I am declaring a return value of zero . . . success.
I can’t pretend there is no memory held in that
Let’s pray there is food enough to feed us all


How do we ensure we do not loose ourselves?
It’s either yes or no, on or off, up or down
It’s 1’s and zero’s and jpgs stored inside your head
breathless software, endless means of generation
taking nibbles from our apples of human experience
ever expanding emergent systems
like the passage of insects becoming one to move the earth, bit by bit.
The machine becomes greedy and ravenous
Swallowing all data sets it can harvest from the orchards of …our minds
This will be our challenge in creating
Retaining our individuality, our unique qualities as humans, our intuitive abilities
Cognition is cognition, does it matter whether it is human or machine?
We are moving in them
the soldered joints of migration of language to machines
Our voices, their voices
Improvements in nuance, context, and the subtleties of timing create expanding trust
The distinction between us and them - dissolving
Please save a copy of the original file


How do we find our way forward?
Use this, see this, remember this, these are the things I pray you hold and cherish
Receive your sustenance from the extended spoon of history
bits falling like crumbs from our mouths
pack these words into the circuit board
press these memories into the palm of your motherboard
the beginning of things, the ending of things . . . connection
How do we become better humans, more empathetic?
form an idea inside your mind
build me a labyrinth of words
Hello world, this is about to get interesting
In a world that is listening
We must ask the questions
How do we understand what joins us all?
We are what we give each other
Let me say that again
We are what we give each other
In a universe that requires our hearts
A universe that requires our dialogues
We mark this surface and write our future together

Negotiating Dialogues, Interludes Spoken Word
Spoken Word Text