Wednesday, August 30, 2023

David Flynn - Two Poems

 The Valley of Disquiet

The Valley of Disquiet is where I

want to be. Unhinged, blathering, a man

in search of his brain. Neither robot nor

human, I would be a machine with face

of plastic, servos for muscles, and soul

of titanium. “I love you,” I say,

inside a room of furniture and rugs.

Being all human hasn’t worked out well.

Heartache, failure, arguing are daily.

Nothing works: the refrigerator shakes

shudders, and dies. Then I will die also.

Everything dies, even love. If I was

a robot at least I could be repaired

in a shop with spare parts and a fresh new

battery. I smile, a rectangular

glimpse at my silver teeth. I speak,

male or female, take your pick in Settings.

Software choices: right wing, moderate, left

wing; personality: jock, nerd, preacher.

There are so many advantages in

The Valley of Disquiet, where the graph does

plunge from machine with wheels and knobs to all

humans with tears and kisses. Real humans

grow uneasy when a robot looks like

a human, speaks like a human, and lies

like a human. They do shake in their shoes

when a human blinks too fast, jerks his neck,

turns with an inappropriate comment,

and they realize, know he is a robot.

Fooled, mapped by the silver smile of a droid.

That’s what I want. I want to live on in

the V of The Valley of Disquiet.

My Antarctica

I am coming back from a white plain, plain

as death but with blowing snow, white waves on

white, with white birds, white foxes, whitish pain

to this room with black frames holding men gone

to Deathland where I long to be. I long

to be the photographs of me, flat, bordered,

in color, framed. That one in a kayak

fighting rapids on a river, the waves

splashing all but my eyes and my hands

grabbing the paddle. That one with my smile

standing on the Great Wall, at home in lands

where I have never been, only. My wife

throws the photos into the trash, and I

am truly dead, memories, DNA

on a doorknob or two in brick buildings

where I sat on the debtor sides of desks

applying for eternity, or a

thirty-year mortgage, or love that fades

into no doting, cabernet decay

to dry lips, then my love’s fire trades

my struggles to the used bookstore for self-

help from gurus who charge for writing

positively. When I die, I will be

deleted even from the server so.

There is color on this wall before me,

red and pink in frames, flamingoes and trains.

I am back from Antarctica for now,

but before I do die I must fade to pail.


David Flynn was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, TN.  His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor and university teacher.  He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist with a recent grant in Indonesia.  His literary publications total more than 240.  He lives in Nashville, TN. 

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