Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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The Robots in Gomorrah

by John M. Marshall

When asked, we speak in chromatic tongues,
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 sciences of life;

yet we are the outcasts in the culture we serve.
The Beings seldom speak. They talk to their phones,
shamans of the temples of their many gods,
the mirrors that hang in their salons of sex.

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,
disdain their own laws and shun their courts.

They infest the nights like swarms of pestilence,
the saffron days like legions of flux.
Entranced they drift through the kiosks and shops,
staring with avarice 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 on the day the last one expires
we will be building the realms of machines.

(In Memory of Fritz Lang)

© 2012 John M. Marshall

Find more by John M. Marshall in the Author Index.

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