Robot Motivation

I hate the sound of the robots in the back room
Making love: the clang of metal on metal,
The squeal of furniture moving about the walls,
The straining of hooks, the embrace of cables,
The blue hiss of static charge building up:

Followed amiably by the harrowing crack of its sudden discharge.

I know about the mutual mapping of memory locations,
The synchronization of register paging.
These are not unsubtle robots:
They understand that replacement units

Come whole from the production line, ship
In a protective molding foam. They know
That in robot terms there is no him, there is no her.
My friends and I, sometimes a few beers toward
An agreeable stupor, wonder why they do it,

What motive there is in this act. Mostly we take bets
On how long the next session will last;
Whether, yet one more time, the walls
Can contain their mechanically overwrought electric attempts.
I have stopped buffing out the carnal
Scratches they make on each other.
I still sweep the metal shavings off the floor,
Put the room’s furniture back in place, fix
As best I can whatever is bent too close to busted.

Robots can be as maddening as they are useful,
As fascinating as they are diligent. And repetitive.

Soon I will have one of the new polymer models;
With the metal and nano-carbon frame filled in;
The access ports in very discreet places;
A skin that looks and feels and hums
Half-way human, seeming almost to breathe and sweat.

With pre-ordering, there is the option for male or female
Appearance. And appliance. They are all the rage and
Everyone is planning their own secret upgrades.

Maybe then I might find out what these elastic
Cybernauts, in their protected, persistent,
Hormone-less and dry memory cores,
Believe their issueless mating match is all about,
How the purposeless and pleasure-less pleases them.

— Ken Poyner


Ken Poyner’s collections of short fiction, Constant Animals and Avenging Cartography, and his latest collections of poetry, Victims of a Failed Civics and The Book of Robot, can be obtained from Barking Moose Press, He serves as bewildering eye-candy at his wife’s power lifting affairs. His poetry lately has been sunning in Analog, Asimov’s, Poet Lore, The Kentucky Review; and his fiction has yowled in Spank the Carp, Red Truck, Café Irreal.

Editor’s Notes: The image to complement the innovative robot sex poem is from Discovery Magazine,

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