Mr. Cantankerous

They say we’re evolving into robots,

or rather,

six-million-dollar men, adjusted for inflation,

or actually deflation,

since we’ll become cheaper to make,

and we’ll be everywhere, like plastic stuff

no one wants (not now, though later they will).

“People 2.0” we’ll be, they say,

though no self-respecting robot

would use that term. We don’t

go around calling ourselves

“the chimps” now, now do we?

So yes, we’ll be off flying ourselves

through space in ships oiled to light

beams, just ahead, I suppose,

of the bombs we’ve built

and the rising sea with all the

dead fish in it (it’s a vision

of hope, as I understand it, a new

chance to get it right).

Meanwhile, though, I’m stuck on this

future trash pile on Good Friday

2017, clinging to my cross,

a chimp and chump weak in the wind

of God 2.0

Quite content with the alternative

I lay by my wife and felt her fingers,

and then all her bones together –

a skeletal, scary thought

with a cold wind blowing through it –

so I hastened to add the rest,

first the organs and then the

blood and tissues I couldn’t name,

and finally the skin and

mass of golden hair.

But even then she wasn’t herself,

so I started decking her out

with all her qualities, her smile and

hard soft-heartedness,

her way of leaving things

and that twist when she dances.

And how she cooks, with her million recipes,

and curls up in the corner of the couch.

The further I went, the warmer she,

and the drowsier I,

got, and God it’s good

to sleep with her

and not with that bag of bones!


Amid the vast network of tracks and trains

one puts his body in and

it matters a lot whether he

puts it in or in front of the

train. We who ride know

the difference, but he who

has stalled and rerouted us

is blank, extinguished,

a smoke without a flame