Rachel Springer


Some people start with a series of experiments, curious about what’s possible in this world.

Some people start already willing to starve themselves.

Perhaps you will come to some interesting conclusions about yourself when you play. Like I spent all this time, maybe hours, getting my face just right, the contours of the cheekbones, the connotations of the lips and everything, but what I really wanted was for it to be photographed mid-explosion.

Personally, I have managed to destroy my face twice in pursuit of this goal. You know when a song can be just perfect, when it represents exactly how you want to feel in that moment? Like that.

One way or another, the game manages to make me feel too enthusiastic.

Every so often I’d go to bed and there'd be nothing there, just tiny explosions where my head was supposed to be.

But what did I expect?

Making the bed is not required to use it; you just have to physically traverse the distance between wherever you are and it in order to sleep.

Is it a matter of determining what one may safely and cleanly possess?

I tried to call the next morning to apologize, but somehow it’s different on a fifteen-inch screen.

So, what are we left with?

1. What is made can be unmade when you are not touching it.

2. After enough seconds have passed, what is on the floor may just fly into your possession anyway.

“Well,” she concluded, “I guess that’s real enough for me.”


How did you get here?

Nobody knows—you’re just here.

And here is an extremely literal translation.

A dream, a boss and a metonymy.

Hieroglyphs, drugs and the new media.

We all need rewards, however small, to continue.

Like what I filled those naked pages with when I went to sleep with the television on.

So lately I’ve been taking the keys out and trying them in different places.

I confess I once ruined a relationship in this manner.

I wouldn’t describe that as a shallow experience.

I’m not the kind of person who plays video games, but I haven’t slept or eaten now for days.

There’s no way to win, except by not becoming depressed.

Surround yourself with walls and you lose.

So why isn’t my Sim happy?

Because it has nothing to push against.


I go back and forth about the metaphor of hands.

It’s difficult to separate my body from the love of my body.

The curve of a downward currency is waiting for you to come back.

The free will button is so enormous it makes my Sim throw up.

The decision is whether to be hurt by her cruelty or his carelessness.

Play the game a minute, spend a dollar on it, decide for yourself.

The game is not a facsimile of a bonding experience.

Nor is it an experience about bonding.

Stop deciding what things are before you digest them.

On the screen there are hands flipping through a manual of hands.

There are instructions for gamifying even love.

A rumor spreads to simplify the world.

You make a Sim that’s just like her.

And I make one that’s just like him.

He runs around the block when he’s supposed to be working.

She knocks on the door when we’re supposed to be sleeping.

This is a ghost story of our world.

Rachel Springer is a poet and statistician living in Portland, OR. Her recent work can be found in The Atlas Review, Cartridge Lit, and Fanzine.