Thursday, May 10, 2012

Amor Ex Machina

Modern Rhapsody~Salvador Dali


Amor Ex Machina




I look at these rigid fingers
with their metallic sheen of
imbricated scales, once supple, articulate 
now so resistlessly futile
tapping out my obsolescence
not an antique
not an artifact
only a throwaway construct wearing out
for which parts are no longer available.

When my clanging gears
manage to change up and wheeze 
into a facsimile of engagement,
I make a soft slipping murmur
to you in the infinite dark
into the empty parking space,
the crackling void's blue box
beneath my fused wires.
Your name's evensong, I whisper it 

into the loop of a no longer
optimally functioning receiver
and on the flickering screen of
my headset, your face flashes on off
off on impossibly still close
though that must be an error.
There’s no answer in the
whistle and squeak night
because you do not speak

or I no longer hear. 
Yet should such a random soundbyte
force an auditory response to
somehow occur, and should 
the machine record it,
data at hand indicates
it  might be discovered that
a great many remaining parts
are still in working order.




May 2012

Posted for   Meeting the Bar   at dVerse Poets Pub
Charles Miller hosts today and his theme is Machine Dreams.







Header Image: Modern Rhapsody, 1957 by Salvador Dali
Copyright may still apply.
Footer Image: Anatomical Drawing of the Bicep Function, Leonardo da Vinci
both  via wikipaintings.org

23 comments:

  1. Your poetry sings the most beautiful songs and sometimes the music hits a frequency that sends tremors through my being. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a clever title!

    "only a throwaway construct wearing out"

    "I make a soft slipping murmur
    to you in the infinite dark
    into the empty parking space,
    the crackling void's blue box"

    This makes me think of a couple who has split up but who might "get together" from time to time, even though things are really over.

    rosemarymint.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. somehow this speaks to me of falling apart but then finding ways to fix some of the broken parts and maybe use them in uncommon ways to get to where we think we should get or where we what we need to live on and make sense of all this

    ReplyDelete
  4. Perhaps there's hope for us oldies, if there are a few useful working parts to cannibalise. I love your poem - lovely way to use language.

    ReplyDelete
  5. not an antique
    not an artifact
    only a throwaway construct wearing out
    for which parts are no longer available.

    Very enjoyable. Delightful and thought-provoking by turns.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank your god there's a paramour in the ghostworks of the machine, saving the day ... Great transference of the love song onto the rusting and wearing and wearying gears of a once state-of-the-art machine's speedy obsolescence. We work so much in the a digital environment, at what point do we become naturalized citizens in the matrix -- and become green-card aliens in our our hearts? Dunno, but its a comfort that though the digital snows fall hard here, there's still a human hearth. Great response to the prompt, Hedge. - Brendan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, B. I think age forces us to deny so much of our old identities, the ones rooted in youthful image, yet under the fading mechanism, the heart beat goes on, a bit spasmodic and fibrillated, perhaps, but still the at the very center, where I think it needs to be.

      Delete
  7. For all the machine language, this has an awfully lot of heart in the end. I like it very much, Hedge.

    ReplyDelete
  8. An interesting mystery as to who is machine, and who isn't, and the interplay of language and human and tech is delightful, as always in your work.

    ReplyDelete
  9. yeah i agree with shay and in the end i hope it is the heart that you find is still working...the machine needs repair over time but eventually there is only so much that you can do...the loss of communication is sad and scary for me...nicely spun hedge....

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like the details and parts of the machine weaving with your night's reflections....the second stanza is specially beautiful ~

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is scary, and the picture just emphasizes the way that humans are slowly but surely becoming automatonized. The line between the intimate and the cold routine of a machine is chilling, and it makes clear how strangely our emotional lives are being ordered by the machines that are coming to rule the world. You capture perfectly the cold and sterile stimulus/response interaction between humans who have become routinized in the cybernetic form of life. That is scary even just to write it. I wonder whether we have a choice in the matter, and wonder what will wake someone up from that type of slumber? Will there remain of the "natural" human to respond to human moments when they arise? Kierkegaard talked about primitivity that can be destroyed by too much human density per square mile. That would lead me to believe that the imaginative encounter that you portray will occur just as you say, without hope of any alternative to its coldness and isolation.

    ReplyDelete
  12. There’s no answer in the
    whistle and squeak night
    because you do not speak
    or I no longer hear.

    This is sad. Communication lines ought to be on, all the while. You cleverly brought out the importance of connecting should 'machines' fail! Great write Joy!

    Hank

    ReplyDelete
  13. I especially love the last two stanzas - there is so much narrative and imagery in them!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Scary, sad, and sweet all at the same time. I found "now so resistlessly futile" to be incredibly clever.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh so very clever, and darkly so!

    ReplyDelete
  16. i agree with so man y of the comment. i love what viv talks about parts to cannibalize, will that apply to us someday? that's the mainstay of fixing machines, finding parts, and when there are no more parts manufactured and no more parts to cannibalize, you will never fix it again.

    Unemployed eyes wither in winter’s white noise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, to some extent, we already do cannibalize human parts--there's a hefty black market trade in organs, and I'm sure at some point if you have the money, they'll be able to take parts from poor people and keep you going forever. The ultimate plutocracy. ;_)

      Delete
  17. I swear there are days I feel like this. My first feeling while reading this was of an impossibly poetic singing soul in some leftover machine after the humans have all gone. By the end I was charmed (and reassured) by the voice of a human, not nearly so used up as he/she thinks. I find the indeterminate wavering between these two stances beautiful rather than disturbing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mark. I actually meant this poem to be a bit humorous and to have in it some human warmth, so thanks for seeing that aspect. One does tend to look on one's body as a failing machine as one ages, but there is a part of it that is just not mechanical and never will be.

      Delete
  18. Very clever and yes I found it very humorous. Disturbing only in that I am at that point of decay and malfunction or slow function or need-a-lot-of-revving-up-to function! I am laughing on htis end.

    But what was also interesting to me, especially about the beginning, is that the image originally seemed almost like one of armor-not exactly chainmail - more like those riveted gauntlet type of gloves - my aging brain would have to look up the exact word - and I find it very interesting to think of the external armor also getting creaky.

    Much enjoyed. (And you said humor was not your strong suit!) k.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, K. Well, I was actually looking at the dried-up wrinkled, chicken-skin sort of look my skin has these days, more vertical than horizontal though. ;_) But perhaps that lack of emotion that we think of as robotic is indeed analogous to armor--glad you got a chuckle, and Happy Mother's Day to you and your mom.

      Delete

'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg