The Steppers have gone, Stepped onto their parallels, Multiverse Earths, Nirvanas, or hells. And we’re left behind, We, the unsteppable, Sub-human luddites And wholly forgettable. My parents and sister Have forged for a new life A thousand-plus worlds From Datum’s own strife, But me, I must lump it, I’m not worth the saving, I don’t get to witness The future they’re braving. They’ve promised to visit, Each decade or so, And write me, though post Is so terribly slow. I’m clearly not favourite, Just a mistake, I’m easy to leave When I’m too hard to take. Despised by my authors, Abandoned to rot, I’m just a disposable Cog in the plot, I’m holding you back, So you cut your son loose – With a smile from your god To condone your abuse.
I asked for a poem from the algorithm – It took the simple prompt it was given, And after thinking a second or so, The words began to flow…
And they were bad, man, Really bad – The scribbling of a mixed-up lad. Cos the thing with greenhorns, They lack know-how, But think the world must hear them now… Till one day, we’ll all look back and laugh, At AI’s opening paragraph.
Sure, they had rhyme and they had rhythm, Verse by verse, the cursor driven, Never knowing when it said enough, Just filled the screen with stuff…
But this was bad, man, Really bad – The first draft of an undergrad. Cos the thing with students, Is that they learn, Just practicing until their turn… Till one day, a beautiful work of art From a Turing Test will break our heart.
Nothing below the Wrist, Nothing above the Clavicle
She had about her four tattoos, as I recall, Each one of which set within a sea of un-inked skin – So ringed around her bicep was a Celtic braid, And a seeing-eye was watching from her shoulder blade, While her backbone bore a butterfly, tucked in the small, And finally, a blood-red Moon where her ankle met her shin. She always seemed so prim, and with her bashful eyes, That her even having any came as some surprise.
Then one day, after we’d moved-in together, I noticed something odd upon her breast, above her heart – A kitten’s paw-print, still a little red with new. She shyly fingered it and murmured “this one’s you”. Unlike her bodywork, we didn’t last forever, But I saw her yesterday as if we’d never been apart – So easily we talked, it was quite a trip, Till I saw a rose was peeking-out upon her hip.
We barely care whodunnit, Since they’re all so terribly nice – Though one’s covertly cunning And would snuff us in a trice. But their manners are so proper, And they drive such classic cars, That we almost miss the copper As he bristles their handlebars.
They used to be so civilised in murder, Fatally polite – When an heiress couldn’t fall in ardour, Without falling from a height. Never threat’ning, always thrilling, When lit by candlelight or gas – Back in the golden days of killing, As practised by the upper class.
We already know whodunnit, Since we’ve seen the films before, But the costumes all are stunning And the country houses score – The accents are so chipper, And the backdrops are so lush, That we almost miss the skipper And the neck that he will crush.
They used to be so delicate in slaughter, Lethally adroit – With an intricate plot and a secret daughter, And herrings and twists to exploit. Never gruesome, always gripping, In the days when the Empire was built to last – These treacherous tales are roaringly ripping, When all set safely in the past.
The lib’ries of my childhood mind Were dark and ancient rooms, Where vaults of pages whispered In their literary tombs, And candlelights cast shadows In the labyrinth of glooms, As the monks, all dressed in brown, Chained their precious volumes down.
The lib’ries of my childhood days Were dull and grimly quaint, Where silence wasn’t reverence But boredom and restraint, With long, prosaic rows of spines With no allure or taint, As the staff, all dressed in beige, Locked away each racy page.
The lib’ries of my adulthood Are not as deeply hewn – They aren’t a gothic paradise Or brutalist cocoon, But just an easy place to spend A rainy afternoon, With a book about the secret lore Behind the bookshelves’ hidden door.
All my honeyed words, I stole, From radio and Hollywood – They showed me how to play my role, And made me think I really could. I practised in the bedroom mirror, Studied glossy magazines – And ev’ry night was one night nearer To my moment on the screen.
All my heartfelt tears, I bought, From sellers with expressive eyes – I took on ev’rything they taught, To help me tell more honest lies. I practised in my dreams each night, With tailored suits and sexy cars – I’ve surely breached their copyright, To fall in love just like the stars.
The new movie didn’t move me, Latest album didn’t sing, The next novel’s full of waffle, And these jokes have lost their zing – The critics are fawning over themselves Agog at the new direction, So who cares what I like, or not ? This is art, it’s not an election !
The hottest fashion’s lacking passion, Haute cuisine is stale and rank, Their architecture’s just a lecture, And their canvases are blank. The critics are telling me I’m stupid, Blind to the flash of genius. So who cares what I get, or not ? This is art, it’s always a fuss !
And the artists – they’re still having fun, Living it up at number one – They might not last in hindsight’s eyes, But they grab the money and run and run, Quite deaf to my self-appointed cries. So did they sell out, or lose the plot ? Or take their shot to change their scene ? They’re doing what they want to do, So let’s be happy too, and spare the spleen.
They owe us goddam nothing, we the fans, They only owe themselves. And we no doubt are free to try-out Other brands from other shelves. The coming poem, that’ll show ’em ! Maybe. Taste is so bizarre. Perhaps I must bid you goodbye – But thanks for the ride so far !
They sculpted each immortal bust As patient as the coming rust – And when our steel has turned to dust, They’ll still be standing here. They’re made from prehistoric shells, Once crushed in subterranic Hells, Then thrust back up on mantel swells, For millions of years. Their flinty eyes have seen it all, Our mighty kingdoms rise and fall, From city states to urban sprawl, For long as time allows. These statues gaze their stoic stares, Untroubled by our fleeting cares, Just waiting for erosion’s airs To smooth their stony brows.