Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

The Robot as a Sympathetic Character

Something a little different for me:

The Robot as a Sympathetic Character

Model 47

Perfunctory. Precision. Open, Shut,
Smile. Carry the comestibles to the ladies’ cars,
Tip, tip the hat. Rain, sleet, sun the same
to me. The manager’s daughter mimicked
me for months. For her the hospital. Open,
Shut, Open, Shut. Smiling,
Tip tip the hat. For me, no legs and
the rats’ endless clambering. Above
the skies fill and empty with clouds.
Tip, tip the hat.

Model 763

I’m one of a thousand—
hundred thousand possibly—
who bothers to count any more?
Trash to curb, toddler to kiddie care
mistress to massage, coffee delivered,
check paid. There’s no need for a
housewife, hussy, madam, Mrs.
I do it all, oh yes, technically
I can do it all. I’m programmed
to please, never tired, rejuvenated
with the blink of your eye—headache
free. Just give me your hand
and you’ll see, though I’m secondhand,
originally custom delivered—it’s not
the work, the work has never been
a problem—only the nights he woke
gasping, hearing her blood pulse
in his dreams then waking to his head
pillowed on my hollow heartless breast.

Model 8789

Yes, I know most everything—history,
Genocide, the fragile music of a conch,
how to tabulate the six hundred-thousandth
place of pi, which characters demand the most
strokes from an ermine hair brush, the hour
of the last monk’s death, the final flight path
of the monarch migration to what was once
Mexico. There is little else to mark now,
beyond what passes—this cased circuitry
impervious to the skies and rivers. The last
live birth, I held in my hands. I washed
the boy in the mountain steam and cradled
it against a chest buffered by a blanket
stitched of field mouse fur. I fed him,
dropper by dropper, mouthful by mouthful
from an ancient cache, but he grew wild
as the geese that still impossibly fly, wild
as the stunted trees marring the plains.
He screamed with the voice of the mountain lion
as the pelts fell tattered from my immaculately formed
limbs. The world’s words, Latin, German, French,
Greek—its entire knowledge—incomprehensible
to the child who would only hear the incessant roar
of the wasting wind, and the grey waves' lash upon
the stony shore. Tiburon, I warned, as his blood
blossomed in the bay, shark, I shouted as he
slashed his feet on the slivered remains of
shell and vertebrae, under the great arch
of a humpback’s ribs. I could only repeat
the worthless words, as the creature rose
from the waters, as frail flesh ended itself in the sea


From Suzanne:

A new book meme circulating around the sphere is going by the name “123.5,”
and its rules are these:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

How could man carving the first wheel
see the later labyrinths
of steel and brass wheels moving interlocked
in a spun fabric of wheels?

National Poetry Month

Buy the T-shirt!

Derrida, Responsibility, and Grace

There are some few, rare, people who can share their knowledge with others in a graceful manner that does not make the learner feel as if they are incompetent or inferior. This weekend at Emporia State, I went to a conference on Derrida and met several such teachers. Hugh J. Silverman, who was the keynote speaker, commented with kindness on every paper he heard over the course of the day, however much or little the papers actually intersected with Derridian theory. Likewise, Wilson Baldridge asked questions that help lead to new discoveries and was kind enough to answer even simplistic questions with patience and respect for the listener. If these represent the manner of lifestyle that Derrida encouraged, I am compelled to read more.

If I one day can be such a teacher, I will be satisfied.