Only to continue

The machines draw on monstrous algorithms,
     Clattering forward on mechanical claws,
          Parrying outcries by undergoing kaleidoscope metamorphoses.

Upon their robot operating table,
     A law is sutured to reward the parties it was supposed to rein in,
          Or cuts loose from the regulators and floats into the ether of irrelevance.
Slogans for impunity congeal from unpublicized whispers.
There are never new laws,
     Never new battles.
          The old battles are producing casualties daily.
               Their campaigns take place under tattered banners sewn years before.

Machines come to life with human faces.
     I have tried to sit down to air our grievances with some.
          The my words are lost in the incessant clanking.

Each of us fights our own machine—
     A meld of hurts and iniquities,
          A Molotov cocktail of concerns.
Requisitioned rights held behind intricate fences,
     Secret insults distilled into verbal javelins,
          Borders that cannot be crossed and fields where there is no repose,
               Impossible roads to unmet promises—
Truths that have eluded those who serve machines,
     Or who wiped their memories clean long ago.

It would be so nice to have our own machines fight for us.
     We could wind them up and let them go.
          They would mow across the terrain of our enemies.
And we could stand by
                         Until called upon to fight them in their turn.

Andy Oram
June 23, 2018

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