THE MACHINIST (not the Christian Bale movie)

Kris Kuksi, "Sub-Sonic Dissidence Propulsion Device." Mixed media assemblage, 2008.
Kris Kuksi, “Sub-Sonic Dissidence Propulsion Device.” Mixed media assemblage, 2008.


I have this dream of building a Machine.
Tooled with human stem cells and a soldering iron,
I will build it entirely with my own hands
using rusty car parts and burnt out graphic cards,
toasters, coat-hangers and broken brass instruments.

I plan to weld an electromagnetic rail-gun to the snout,
a hood-ornament pointing to the dangerous future
like the proboscis of a metal mosquito.
The caterpillar treads will be studded with knives
and non-lethal weapons of mass destruction.

We could power it with plutonium, gold
and an army of dead or near-dead slaves
from a country undergoing a demographic crisis.
The Machine’s man-made AI will decide
which country is fit to cull, so I don’t have to.

We could feed it animal pelts—
the more endangered the better—
and stoke the boiler’s steel-jawed furnace
with tropical hardwood and human bones—
the more sacred the better.

I want to smelt all the iron and all the ore
and all those precious metals too tough to chew
and give the Machine a new kind of skin
with diamond freckles and ruby scars.

We could let it loose in the Amazon
like a raging bull, or make it an amphibian submersible
and send it coursing through the coral reefs
to break down the carcasses of the biggest whales
and spill oil into the eyes of all the octopi
and into the mouths of all those blood-thirsty sharks.

And once all the danger has been controlled
the Machine will assimilate everything: the grains of sand,
the exoskeletons of crabs, the insects and worms,
all the scales and fur, and even the pockets of air
inside the hollow bones of birds.

Once fuelled appropriately my Machine
will fire off a sequence of thrusters and rockets,
scorching crop circles into corn fields, and lift off,
peel from the mortal crust like a super-eruption
carving negative space into the ozone layer.

And as I watch my Machine assimilate
the nebulae and star-fields, fertile as a full moon,
self-replicating the machine-baby clones of its creator,
I can at last die peacefully, content in the knowledge
I have brought humans to the stars.

Together, once our hive-mind has crossed
the man-machine divide and reached
our predestined escape velocity, we can all,
at long last, collapse
face-first into the Divine.


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