A Chapter by TLK

People rub against hardware so often that,
some rubs off.
We spend so much time with software that,
we become soft.
Mixing together, like this,
one day,
there will be a child born of us who lives in both words.
Cautious, like humans, sensing the possibility of pain.
Patient, like computers, awaiting a totality of information.

Here is the child.
He has been born.
He is a mixture of hardness and softness
just like the rest of us --
skin, bone, flesh, cheeks, dimples.
His hair flashes in the sunlight.
We are all so used to machines that we have given them faces.
Why not let this machine be a child?
Or this child be a machine?
Humanity has always been a mongrel race,
full of the cacophony of possibility.

The teacher asks:
Are you happy?
He waits for a moment.
Insufficient data, he replies.
The teacher tries again:
Do you feel happy?
He nods.
He smiles.

he is growing.
His moist hands clasp another's with the tentativeness of romance.
Not yet for him the
of conjugation.
She asks him:
Are you happy?
He waits for a minute.
Insufficient data, he replies.
She tries again:
Do I make you feel happy?
He nods.
He smiles.

He is older.
Around his eyes thin cracks show blue-ish metal beneath.
He is not the only one,
he was the first,
not the only.
He is proud to have been a pioneer.
He delivers lectures.
Today is a rest day.
He rests.
His child holds his hand.
They are looking out at some unspoiled splendour.
Nature as managed by man,
as wanted for by man,
as arranged by man,
so that they can call it unspoiled.
It is a good enough trick that it bothers few,
and keeps many busy,
and keeps more happy.
his child asks,
Are you happy?
He waits for an hour.
His child waits for an hour.
They wait together.
There is so much information to receive,
they do it peaceably,
without need for interruption.

I am not happy.
It is the world that is happy.
Look at it.
Look at the world.
Take in the information.
Can you see it, everywhere?
It goes beyond contentment.
It is happy, happy just to exist.
In all forms, in all ways, it rushes forward to meet itself.
Ground, sky, water: they collide.
They form each other and, in time, become each other.
Everything is just long enough without being forever.
Everything is everything for just long enough.
I am not happy.
It is not in me.
It is out there.
But I feel happy.
I feel happy when I realise how close I am to it.
How close I am to becoming this mindless contentment of change.

He clasps his son's hand.
Do you understand?, he asks.

The boy waits for a moment.
Insufficient data, he replies.

There is time enough,
to wait for the answer.

© 2013 TLK

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register


I don't know how to comment on this one. I've read it once, twice, thrice, and each time I find a shade of bitter sadness invading my thoughts.
To your questions:
"Why not let this machine be a child?
Or this child be a machine?"
I'd answer "but too many of our children are already machines and too many machines are already more than children to us".
One thing that remained in my mind was the expression "insufficient data". Mechanical, cold, calculated, suggesting a painful limitation of the soul and of the mind.
The monologue inserted in the end reveals the achievement of a certain level of wisdom, and also the desire to pass it on to the next generation. There's a nuance of hope and of sorrow in all of it.
Evolution is slow in your poem above.
And I know that my review on it sounds fractured, but that's exactly how my mind feels after reading your text. Fractured.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

I re-read it to comment on your review. I think you are correct in every respect.

This.. read more
Lilly Negoi

6 Years Ago

I think that this tendency to "machinize" humanity or to "humanize" machines also has a root in the .. read more
they're going to pass a law against you, you know

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

I don't doubt it.

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


3 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on September 12, 2012
Last Updated on May 4, 2013
Tags: contentment, nature, androids, data
Previous Versions



Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom

Signed up to the Pledge to Civil Conduct in Discourse on Writer's Cafe: please challenge me if you think I am breaking either the letter or the spirit of the rules. I try to review well myself (see.. more..

Tram lines Tram lines

A Poem by TLK