I know you were with him through all the chambers of the night. His six legs one by one enfolded you, stunning you with surgical precision, while you drummed passion into the sternness of his exoskeleton. His antennae, each as though alive, slipped/probed about your eager shoulders, and your breath rasped across his compound eyes, driving clouds of grieving water vapor along the stuttering surface of his sight. The chattering of his mandibles drew pure iridescence into your engorged heart, and your skin surely grew hot and threaded, and to his every move you were an echo, blind in your release, deaf to all but the hive of your own symphony. In the end, his wings unfolded proudly to give him greater art in balance; and the night was wounded by the quickness of your stinging, meaningless murmurs. All this, the entire bridgeless infidelity, I could forgive had you turned at the moment of measure and with one last mammalian moment, bitten his head off. But no, my love, you did not. And I will not be next.
— Ken Poyner
Ken Poyner’s current books–Constant Animals (mini-fictions), The Book of Robot (speculative poetry), Victims of a Failed Civics (poetry) and Avenging Cartography (mini-fictions)–are available at the vending sites of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers. He is a retired Information Systems Security Manager, who now cheers his wife at her powerlifting affairs, and has long conversations with their four cats and betta fish.
Editor’s Notes: A green fly’s shadow is merged with a woman’s silhouette
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, www.barkingmoosepress.com. 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. www.kpoyner.com.
Editor’s Notes: The image to complement the innovative robot sex poem is from Discovery Magazine, http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/lovesick-cyborg/2015/09/17/a-call-to-ban-sex-robots/#.WnVNfpM-fow
You think you had a bad day:
I hit the wrong key, wiped out
Three finished star systems,
A single hyperbolic orbit that I had worked on
For the better part of an hour,
And one sentient species. In this
Quadrant, that sets Creation back
An entire day, and all the texts
Will have to be changed to read
That rest had to wait
For the Eighth day. There was
Quite a to-do, and I thought for a while
I might be let go.
But in the end, I got some office tape
And penned a sign that reads
“Not until the Big Guy says so,”
And covered the button all the way
Around. Of course
The overtime I worked
To get new stars and planets and
And a substitute evolvable species set up
Was all off the books,
But it was a close one:
I thought I would be kicked back
To polishing haloes, feathering wings,
Encouraging unicellular organisms.
No one wants to lose a job
On the front lines like this:
I have so many creatures yet
To test out, so many plans
To put to the Boss. One
Miss-pressed key and my dreams
Shrink up like they were knocked free-fall
Into a gravity well. But,
With management’s reputation for Forgiveness,
And my skill at looking uncommonly repentant,
I’m back again to smoothing the residual anger out
Of crisp, new planetary systems, fixing the drive
In custom made dominant species.
Soon, I’ll have another fresh hyperbolic
Orbit running about in my imagination, bound
With the warmest celestial mathematics
And surfaced like wickedly loose light—
And with this one, I could just get an approval
For the angels of calculus that might divinely support it.
— Ken Poyner
Ken Poyner’s latest collection of short, wiry fiction, Constant Animals, and his latest collections of poetry—Victims of a Failed Civics and The Book of Robot—-can be obtained from Barking Moose Press at www.barkingmoosepress.com, or www.amazon.com, or Sundial Books at www.sundialbooks.net. He often serves as strange, bewildering eye-candy at his wife’s power lifting affairs. His poetry of late 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, Bellows American Review. www.kpoyner.com.
Editor’s Notes: Artwork is an oil painting by Sascha Grusche (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0) of conic sections, which describe possible orbits/trajectories of small objects around the Earth. A projection of these orbits (yellow) onto the gravitational potential (blue) of the Earth makes it possible to determine the orbital energy at each point in space. Isaac Newton, who proved that orbits were conic sections, is shown next to the Milky Way, our galaxy. The spectral colors symbolize different energy values, in analogy to the frequencies of light.
I know it is only a synthetic shell:
False skin grown in a sterile plasma farm, sold
By the yard, shipped cold, pathogen-free, and
Uniform. Beneath it, there is an ordered consistency
Of gel pre-molded, and mechanistic mysteries
Indifferently coiled and calibrated
Against the entire range of tolerances
The present gravity and rhythm can stew up.
Deeper, there is a nano-carbon chassis,
Micro-motors, and anabiotic pulleys; with a battery
Compartment smack in the middle
Of that oh so wonderful abdomen.
I’ve seen them coming off the production
Line: each private run of dozens to hundreds
Meticulously customized to the purchaser’s core need.
Imagine what stories there might be
If that sex-slinging gyndroid were fashioned
Of real, sweating, sinfully sugared flesh:
If her back could truly counter twist like that;
And if her cutthroat breasts had come with evolution,
And not simply been disgorged
From a frustrated engineer’s late night fantasy.
Imagine: the orgasmic gymnastics
She and I as a fighting pair might accomplish,
Making any not-as-lucky ordinary man in sympathy
Glow sadism green and blue electric envious—
Eyes bruised beyond simple focus and his tongue
Acid-flat against a uselessly unclasped jaw.
When she’s done with me, I might find
My soul stuck in neutral, my condition brother to that of
Ordinary robots—robots terminally returned, once their wickedly
Thin effective service life has drearily expired:
Obedient, uncaring, and willingly scrapped for reusable parts.
— Ken Poyner
Ken Poyner’s latest collection of short, wiry fiction, Constant Animals, can be obtained from Barking Moose Press, at www.barkingmoosepress.com, or Amazon at www.amazon.com. He often serves as strange, bewildering eye-candy at his wife’s power lifting affairs, where she is one of the most celebrated female power lifters of all time. His poetry of late has been sunning in Analog, Asimov’s, Poet Lore, The Kentucky Review; and his fiction has yowled in Spank the Carp, Red Truck, and Café Irreal, Bellows American Review.
Editor’s Notes: The image, “Android Legacy,” was created by Oliver Wetter / Ars Fantasio (Deviant Art) in collaboration with photographer Louis Konstantinou and model Gianna Vlachou. (Copyright notice and disclaimer: You are welcome to share my work or repost it.)