The Wounded Beast of Autonomy

The Wounded Beast of Autonomy*

Hurled against the rocks of identity
The wounded beast of autonomy
Cries out
As it loses its grip

The reassuring shoreline
Battered and eroding
Never looked more forlorn,
A beacon of receding vistas

Blinding and lucid flashes
Assailed by surface gashes
Infused with the
Heat of uncertainty

A frightened little girl
Peaks from behind the mask
Of the wizened crone
And it is my task to convince her
She is not alone

—Robert Hieger
 October 23, 2013


* This poem is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, colleague and extended family member, Sallie Marx, who endured a long struggle with dementia. At the time of writing, I had just visited her in the hospital after she suffered a series of mini-strokes. Several days later, after a massive stroke, she entered hospice care, passing away in early November.

Dongles, Dangles and Beeps

Dongles, Dangles and Beeps*

Tantalus stretches his arm from antiquity Dangles a dongle of USB secrets Mangles a moment of tête-à-tête Instead we have SMS, latter-day S & M. Young couples avert eyes from each other, gaze lovingly At iOS vistas whose screens they now diddle Coo and giggle over vapid missives transmitted cross-table Is this romance conceived by a cyborg Clark Gable? “I am not a Luddite!” cries the man behind the curtain Accompanied by a whir of clicks, flashes and beeps “I'm an artist, a lover and scientist dazu!” Yet hidden from all in a sea of bleeps. Vapid sighs issue as each message is read. If medium is message, this message is dead. With a beep and a whoosh, response message is sent, in fourth wall of persona there is scarcely a dent. Our devices our vices that ice and divide us Yet the scientist, artist and lover dazu Need not hide behind curtains as he's wont to do His vices, devices and crisis not worth the fuss. Liberate the device from the inspired creator, Wayward dongle from the port that it dangles! And will we find that device is a tool that extends us, Not rule of law from a fool whose bluster suspends us? —Robert Hieger  January 14, 2015

* Originally published in Maintenant: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing & Art, Issue 9, Editors Peter Carlaftes & Kat Georges, 2015