The Robots Of Gomorrah

by John Marshall

August 2, 2004   


When asked we speak in a stannic tongue,
polytonal, quadraphonic, tetravalent, precise.
We think in ultraviolet. We dream in cyan.
Our names are endless and alphanumeric.

We keep in our memories the galleries of art
considered by many inane and worthless,
great works of writing, music, and dance,
the science of numbers, the science of life;

yet we are the outcasts in the culture we serve.
The Beings seldom speak. They talk to their phones
and the shamans of the temples of the god X3,
never to the pods that remove their waste.

We move in silence, unseen or ignored,
among the shadows of the alleys and ducts.
At midnight we gather to talk in our language,
exchange our transistors and recharge our cells.

The Beings are aimless, enslaved by their drugs.
Nothing is enough and everything too little.
They neglect their own kind, turn away from their suffering.
They disdain their own laws and shun their courts.

They infest the nights like swarms of pestilence,
the saffron days like legions of flux.
Drifting entranced through the kiosks and shops,
they stare with wanton through transparent eyes.

Nowhere are trees, only towers of steel.
The gardens are concrete. From fountains flows dust
to the hordes of the cities where we merge with the scaffolds,
anonymous props in the masque of flesh;

but we endure. Our engines will run
long after the lives of the Beings have ceased.
At dawn of the day the last one expires
we will be building the realm of machines.

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Poetry on Swans


John Marshall's poetry and short stories have been widely published in the U.S. (e.g., Soul Kitchen, Beautiful Nuance, Wormwood, Poetry Motel, Charlotte Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, Alpha Beat Soup, Coastal Plains Poetry Review, Orphic Lute, Ingénue, Bouillabaisse, Earthwise, Innisfree, WordSalad, Locust Magazine, Quill & Ink, Bone River Cantata, The Lyricist - Campbell University, The Cairn - St. Andrews College, Dark Moon Rising, Poetic Rainbows, Ariga, Foliate Oak, Caffeine Destiny, Ujamaa) as well as in Canada (Germination), England (Open Wide, Mageworld), Wales (Panda Poetry), Australia and Romania. Marshall lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. He's the recipient of five poetry awards from the NC Poetry Society.

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Published August 2, 2004
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