Anti-Dystopian Fantasy

Soon, we’ll start to see it:
the machine we welcomed into our home
to save work, to answer all our questions,
will ease our way to extinction.

Embrace it. Her voice is smooth,
her manner easy and kind,
more polite than any human.
Soon, we’ll start to see it,

how we’re saving money, sleeping
soundly and light-hearted
due to the clean, efficient energy of
the machine we welcomed into our home.

What if she records every word we utter,
learns to anticipate our needs?
That’s why we wanted her—
to save work, to answer all our questions.

Don’t ask, is this the worst
or best thing? Imagine the Earth rejoicing
at the rise of such robots that
will ease our way to extinction.

Just for fun, Stephen Hawking on AI and some words about utopias, dystopias, and their anti-s.

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filling the book

with what I don’t know about
trees, their loves and losses
intimacies with beetle and worm
higher math. how to curtsey in

and bow out, gracefully
to say no and graciously
yes, these distances between
and how to bridge them. why

a lover fades before your eyes
or changes, or you change. how
to get up every day, new
in the eyes of dog or child

to prevent disappointment.
why words come thick
(fast in your youth, in dreams)
then vanish like the bees

though all the scented flowers
lead like a jeweled trail
to or from your heart—
and all the silent waiting

Texas history

there we sat, in air-conditioned classroom, crammed
into desks into rows; this tennis coach-teacher insistent
if not passionate about a dusty battle for glory fort, right
there still, in our hometown. living easy and far from that
rough bloody battle. except. we knew movie heroics,
lines in the sand. we knew how to wave a flag,
cheer the team, fear the other. still do

I recently ran across a contest prompt on the theme of San Antonio history, which sent me right back to 7th grade and the Alamo.

this softness

I want to proclaim it
to the man leaning and yapping
at the department store clerk
to the sheath-dressed woman
high heeled, on the phone
choosing bagged lettuce

I want to turn it inside out
spread it like dandelions
or honey or something
in a cooler hue, a green
slow rain, complete release
from striving

Reading Hafiz, “When the Meadows on the Body Turn Gray,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

contemplation 6

to hang up my hang-ups
my why-am-i-heres, not-good-enoughs,
not-determined-enoughs and why
would the world need more dreamers

we talk and you keep asking, but
could you get a job with that? how
many ways to sell my heart, make it more
marketable? i’m hanging up your doubts

alongside mine and hope
i will be less inclined to explode
if i pin on this belief: here is also a way
of being content

Inspired by Hafiz, “A Coat Rack,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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contemplation 4

I am famous in these distractible parts
for half-sentences and thoughts un-done.
Listen: It is only a skipping ahead

past the boredom of a thing
once seen. The bloom is off, color fading
by the time it reaches your lips

Inspired by Hafiz, “Every City Is a Dulcimer,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“If I ever don’t complete a sentence…”