Parts limping around | looking for a whole | Wholes wandering off into the desert | dazed | disorientated | leaving glittering trails of parts

The sad eyes of machines looking at you | their guts dripping out in wheels and cogs

The poor quarters

Infinite mechanisms | of opulent complexity and tremulous delicacy | their only flaw | that they are not completed by a glance and | nothing and no one is in the slightest bit interested in them

Lost at the fragile, attenuated end of one of the limbs of just such a mechanism | a planet drifts and | on the surface of that planet | a shy building has emerged from the | undergrowth of an inane megalopolis | and trembles in the early morning sunlight

Inside the building there is a room | full of the trivial wrack of ephemeral things | the by-passers’ paradise of glimpses | ashtrays | stereo | milk carton | books of 19th century French poetry | translated | into Japanese

The forgotten, the abandoned, the expendable | who skip school and | run drugs and | join bad bands | and | generally sift the landfill rubbish of a pointless society back and forth | forth and back | and back…

They have their part to play in a losers’ economy | Crowd parts | Fourth assassins

Translucent robots made of flowers and the heart-breaking moments of symphonies or films where the heroes discover | the takings didn’t cover the expenses | generate further strings of DNA and the miraculous slow-motion photography of bumble bees landing on the pollen-smeared stamens of a lily | wrestling with them like mountaineers | with heavy velvet knapsacks | on a beautiful mountainside | trundle off into the void | and even as the darkness enfolds them | believe their memoirs will be published and the truth of their love affair in 1984 | will receive the correct quotient of attention | and they will be vindicated | and that one, unequalled kiss | will reach the world in its proper state | a kind of apex in nature…

Haiku with damaged wings | insufficient syllables | creep along

Ponderous sonnets snap them up and crush them in their mechanical gullets

Novels with fake endings | Readers with no love | Vain, shallow people who | in a sharp and bitter twist | turn out to be me

The fzzsst! and buzzsst! of the most beautiful of the robots | her mind a trail of subtle planets | of grief and love and | moments of | impossibly idiosyncratic observation | She drips kisses and talks about the future as if | we are all going there together | or as if | some of us | at least | might somehow reach it

My oily cyborg shell | clunks along | the airless surface of a minor moon | My job is to ignore the cries of the helpless as they die | A tedious occupation, but | the hours are good and it | pays well

As the grinding machinery is a sonata | for piano | we drown out our own noise | by clicking on the next page and | preparing what we intend to say | about the scale of the silence | we will leave behind us, and imagine | the kind of silence | that is really peace


from the series superstyler (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, September 2012)