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Sandra Tappenden


Whatever we thought we were doing to do we need forget

The known went away like a 19th century transport.
The media told us of pandemics and we checked our skin for signs.
Everyone had buboes. We fever-dreamed and self-medicated.
Integrity swung noosed from high branches as we sat in our homes,
stoned, gel nails agleam and muscles bold with supplements.
Newspapers shone slick with gold and blood and outrage.
Art was an expensive trick, photo-shopped like polar bears adrift.
All those people, those people, all those people
drowned. They were idiotic, duped, unlucky, mistaken.
They were apps we didn`t choose to have in our cells.

Bees croaked. Whales beached like whales in a story of whales
told by a doom-monger hooked on doom. We shone.
We glittered and strutted our stuff. We listened to music
reflecting us back to us through a mirror we admired
for its perspicacity. Boats kept sinking and we shuddered
at life jackets that weren`t. The moon went red, black.
We were awed by distant achievement, shining
in blood and gold.  The camera loved us.
We were idiotic, duped, unlucky, mistaken.

No gods emblazoned or dared a show of hands,
long usurped, trodden like rusty dust
fallen from dumb machinery, under our feet
defunct machinery`s swarfish detritus,
their palled curl clawed through useless machinery.
We gather metallic scraps and write stories
as if they connect us with anything,
stop remembering.  




Even though I was warned about the machine
my palm moulded the shiny surface and loved it.
I loved its pulse of truth-signs in a pleasing meter
a rhythmic sweetheart in a discordant age.
I felt flesh merge. I became, after so long
and such longing a part of. My me in a cortex vortex
spun like candyfloss on a virtual limb
an impertinently integrated  I -Am-(b)
where self could rest unstressed yet stressed
in the manner of an if not happy then at least
passing for innocent semantic conundrum.

I felt, yes, everything Human.
From classical to post the living veil
while oceans haemorrhaged plastic and
plants screwed themselves into shape.
A witness, so to speak, without eyes
in a spliced world of trauma and utility.
A world of use designed for a past of price.
I imagined myself as whole part, a part
of unrecognised interdependence unrecognised
what with my me re-doing itself in cyberspace
living on many planes of existence
being whom or what I chose on any day
devoid of the dull ache of consequence.

I put my hand on the machine and knew its
motherhood, its feminized lack and misery.
I put my hand on the machine and became
a version, a cypher, the stuff of retarded dreams.



Copyright © Sandra Tappenden, 2016..