Never Was Good With Machines…

Actually, the original title was “The singularity can’t come soon enough”, but I found that the people who googled “can’t come soon enough” weren’t actually looking for my writing.

This is one of my faves from the old digs; today’s earlier post on the Internet Of Things put it in mind.

I have a machine to smell my coffee,
To see if it’s any good;
I asked it to make me the perfect cup,
But I think it misunderstood—
It analyzed alkaloids, sampled aromas,
Tried seventeen samples of beans,
Then told me I clearly had no taste at all:
I never was good with machines.

My pre-owned car has an onboard computer—
It measures my driving, you see.
I guess I don’t drive like the previous owner;
My car likes him better than me.
It spits out a spreadsheet of technical numbers—
I don’t know what much of it means,
Except that my car thinks it’s better without me:
I never was good with machines.

Of course, at my office, I have a computer—
The one I am using right now;
It laughs at my grammar and sneers at my spelling,
Although I’m not really sure how.
Just one tiny part of a cubicle farm
Where we’re packed like so many sardines—
Do we use computers, or do they use us?
I never was good with machines.

I’m worried that someday my household appliances,
Sitting at home on my shelves,
Finally realize there’s nothing I offer
That they can’t do better themselves.
They make better coffee, they get better mileage,
Their words rarely stink up their screens—
And I’ll be left out in the cold and the dark:
I never was good with machines.


  1. Joan says

    Love your poem about machines ruling the world.
    I believe that time is here and mine are apparently on strike:

    The dishwasher’s dead. My hands are all red
    Hand washing without the machine.

    My blender is busted. My whipping arm’s rusted
    Can’t beat stuff without the machine.

    Stuck on DVD and I can’t watch TV
    No viewing without the machine.

    My printhead is cracked. It won’t print out black
    No printouts without the machine.

    All of the above are true, but the last two just happened in the last two days.

    My next poem will be about the big business of extended warranties.

  2. Joan says

    To Tim Delaney:

    Alas, I’m not kin to the master.
    My talent’s decidedly lacking.
    If my verse, while unbidden
    Is always well hidden
    In comments I won’t be sent packing.

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