Your Beautiful Robot Face!

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Look at your beautiful robot face!
That smile. I feel like I can see
what you’ll look like when you’re older.
Imagine that! You’ll be an adult robot
some day. Your levers will need oiling;
your motherboard will become outdated.
Your shiny new wheels will seem silly
when they are replaced by something
that doesn’t even exist yet!
The future is exciting
and full of death.
You’ll be scrapped
just like I will be
and just like your mother will be
and just like your grandparents have been.
I’m sorry you never met them.

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Click here to read Dustin Luke Nelson on the origin of the poem.

Photo: “labyrinthine circuit board lines” by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann;  licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dustin Luke Nelson:

I love boredom. There are all these wonderful things that stem from boredom.

The word itself has this weighty implication, as though something is wrong, but boredom is beautiful and important. It does strange things to our mind. I feel like it opens up a unique mental space for me. So I love the idea of The Boring, the mundane things we do that are underrepresented in art. Movies and poems don’t often capture moments like that ten minutes before bed where you’re sitting on the couch staring at the wall, trying to calculate how much sleep you’ll get if you go to bed now versus if you go to bed after watching some TV. It’s boring and wonderful.

That started me on a series of poems set in what should be a dystopic future, but it’s not really all that much more dystopic than our dystopic present. Only there aren’t people, there are just robots. But the robots aren’t all that futuristic. They’re boring like us. I think it creates a sort of distance that allows the boring and the familiar to become strange and almost-magical. If I wave at you and ask you what I’m doing, you’ll say I’m waving. If I have a robot make that same motion, that familiar gesture could be a lot of things. I think it allows us to see a bit of the magic in the mundane.