On the Question of Poetry and Bots

image by mlhradio via flickr

Bots are OK. Some of my best friends are bots. I tend to say What’s up, bots, when I greet them—I like to be old-fashioned. After all, There’s a bot born every minute, et cetera. I was thinking of writing a poem about bots, but that’s already so ten minutes ago, and anyway, some bot has already written that poem.

Does it matter? These days people are writing poems about fucking on volcanoes. “We fucked on a volcano.” How does that help? How does it do anything to solve anything? Putting aside the fact that human civilization will be met with a catastrophic natural end to its unnatural existence within (probably) my lifetime, and your lifetime, does writing a poem about fucking on volcanoes do even a little bit to liberate us in our creative endeavor to expand the possibilities available to human thought?

You can expand the poetic field to include “we fucked on a volcano” or even “the whole week we fucked on a volcano,” and you can expand it to include bots, and so what? It’s bigger now . . . everything is.

Language is just a code—there are coders working with it, and there are poets. Coders are poets who actually do things with words, like create bots with those words and make them do stuff, like write poems on the pallid screens of infected computers. You open your computer and a poem starts unspooling on it, bot-written. Then you have to throw your computer away. So who cares if or for how long or for what reason you fucked on a volcano, which is what you said you did, in a poem about it?

I have terrible gas. It’s because I stopped eating meat and subsist almost entirely on doses of organic greens, grown by small farmers. My alter egoes also have gas. Gas is our condition.

This city has ruined me with its possibilities. The most tantalizing among the possibilities was the possibility of living in another city, equally full of possibilities. But I chose this one, and then there were so many choices that I missed all the opportunities presented to me. I became bitter and lonely and developed terrible gas, which only I know about, and the bots surfing my drive know about because I have been searching for relief for my gas. And now you know about it too.

I console myself with the thought that I can still drink wine and write terrible bot poems instead of all of the other terrible things I could be doing with my life, like making movies, which certainly bots will soon be doing for us, calculating exactly our desires and projecting them for us on mercury-laden screens as we lie in our yellowed sickbeds expiring of manmade viruses. I would hate to be a filmmaker right now, with the bots looking over my shoulder.

But this is not much consolation, truth be told. Can a bot write projective verse or open-field poems? Sure. Sure it can. It’s happening right now.

Why challenge yourself with form?, say the bots. Pretend that you breathe, and that poetry is natural and democratic, and that every bot is a poet.

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