“The Bugs Are Apparently in Me” by Vanessa Maki


The definition of a “dirty computer” is very much similar to what Janelle’s description happens to be. Everyone can come up with their own definition, of course. Regardless, in the eyes of ignorance and hate, I’m a dirty computer.

There’s a sense of internalized shame in being seen as someone who has corrupted files in a sense. It’s even more prominent in those of us who have grown up in religious spaces. Such as Janelle I’ve been surrounded by religious people all my life. That’s something that’s brought on a lot of resentment towards the universe. The “why couldn’t I have been born in a life where I can be myself fully?” passes through my mind too often. This has fractured how I look at religion quite frankly.

“Searching for someone to fix my drive
Text message God up in the sky
Oh, if you love me, won’t you please reply?
Oh, can’t you see that it’s only me?”

This part of the song explores Janelle’s confusion about her own religious standings. She’s a black queer woman that grew up in the Baptist faith. She also said in this interview:

“A lot of this album is a reaction to the sting of what it means to hear people in my family say, ‘All gay people are going to hell.‘ ”

Verse 3 is so very important for the album itself. It’s pointing a huge finger at the idea that queer folk who may believe (this term takes on different meanings)  in the Christian God , are no longer loved. That their queerness in itself makes them unloved and doomed. For me verse 3 causes me to get introspective (this album does in general) and it makes me think of my own personal experiences. How this album would have been even more powerful during my teen years. How it would have changed how I saw myself.

Being black or any other person of color also comes into play and dances hard with the shame of being queer. The world hates you double time. It slaps the label “dirty computer” before it even realizes you’re queer. Then once it does you get the same label again. While I’m hated for more than one reason, I wouldn’t want to get someone to fix my drive.





Vanessa Maki is a queer writer, artist & other things. She’s full of black girl magic & has no apologies for that. Her work has appeared in various places like Entropy & others. She is also forthcoming in a variety of places. She’s founder/EIC of rose quartz journal, interview editor for Tiny Flames Press, & regular contributor for Vessel Press. She enjoys self publishing chapbooks. Her experimental chapbook social media isn’t what’s killed me will be released by Vessel Press in 2019. Follow her twitter & visit her site.


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