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Submission for April Issue, 2023 (Vol. 4, No. 1) is going on. Last date for submission is 31 March, 2023.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

 


Artificial Intelligence

-         John Charles Ryan (Australia)

 

My father gave me a robot

except he pronounced itrow-butt;

I thought, how does someone row a butt?

 

That was his northern New Jersey accent—

the ahh becoming uhh, the uhh becoming argh,

the millions of miles driving to the oil refinery

each day utteringits curse;

 

It wasn’t Christmas, wasn’t my birthday,

but he gave it to me regardless,

though my mother warned impromptu gifts

could turn a son into a rotten brat—

a Jersey Boy, a Jersey Bot, a Jersey Butthead. 

 

I placed the bot on the TV,

atop the pea-green rug,

atop the concrete slab,

atop the sandy stratum,

atop the aquifer that fed the well—

a miniature R2-D2,

blue bands over silver dome

arms that went up or down, only.

 

When the dog got hold of it, chewed it,

tore the head off—those R2-D2 eyes went blank

as a bird’s after impacting a window,

chewed up like a shoulder bone,

ragged tooth prints dripping saliva.

 

I snatched it from the dog’s hot wet mouth,

put it in the corner of my room, where

it would eerily stare back, head detached—

the misplaced desires of man, bot, beast.

****