First name last name

This poem is my considered response to the brilliantly thought-provoking (and utterly terrifying) wait but why article about artificial intelligenceIt also touches on the bland, self-policing nature of social media and the algorithmic emptiness gnawing away at a lot of our interactions.

This one is another performance piece and you can hear me belting it out here.


First name last name

My name is first name last name
ordinal plotter of satisfactory interactions
a punch-card person
twirling strands of flossed unreality around
the spindle of my presence

the fantastic Mr flux
pegged into a snuggly fitting profile
protean dullard
nameday salutations prompted via algorithm
spoonfed the correct observances
a conventional set of preferences
contextual map of appropriate responses
SpamBot achieving rudimentary consciousness

echo-chamber lurker
pimping an approximation of an opinion
to whomever these servers serve
whilst in other news, the news itself wants to know me
& mysterious entities queue up to befriend me

giving careful consideration
to the correct concatenation
of values, assumptions, relationships, feelings
I’m tossing the bones of my order history
to predict future states
refashioning false memories into
endlessly repeating GIFs
expressing deep dread through the medium of lists

first name last name
you have been chosen for a prize
first name last name
please check your details against our records
first name last name
would you recommend this hallucination to a friend

my name is first name last name and I’m trapped here with terabytes upon terabytes of wobbly gig footage
contributing daily to a monstrous aggregation of absolutely everything
my avatar is the tail-munching serpent
I’m perma-trending
bamboozling boolean searches with my fuzzy presence
the sponsored links are chinks in my armour
a combination of words which will create a “dark” me
each swipe provides this jealous being with another brief experience of the world it cannot enter
as time is degraded into
a transitional plan between now
and a blank omniscience
my name is first name last name
that’s mr/mrs/miss/ms first name last name to you


Middle managers

So this poem is a timely something which I knocked up to try to examine our roles in the climate disaster which is engulfing our planet. I use the extended metaphor of the middle manager – someone who has to carry the can for the unpopular decisions further up the chain which affect those further down the chain (i.e. much of the developing world) but who feels powerless to make changes to the overall strategic direction.

Once again, here is me reading it.

Middle managers

unravelling nautilus
dreaming abstract alternatives to wheels

it gives me pleasure to tell you that in the third quarter we performed
better than expected

as per the specification, we prepared a variety of different media
for a broad audience

bags of razor-sharp shells
to be passed round the blindfolded board members

bruised strings deliberately stretched over
the wrong resonator

for the sake of the sustained growth of this unit
I have a message and mark it well

for every future which is removed
I dock you 10 points

I tells ye this and I tells ye this for free
I like not the way it augurs

I fear the lack of indicators
when the dirt takes over

the untended lamp-posts
the looted hedgerows

collapsed options
an elective funnel


Beneath the waves

This poem is an escapist fantasy inspired in part by Homer’s under the sea song (Simpson, not the Greek dude). It also came out of the absolutely batshit crazy Blue Planet episode about the very deepest depths.

As ever, you can hear me reading the blighter here:

Please do have a listen because this is definitely a performance piece which loses a little bit on the page.

Beneath the waves

in the deepest part of the ocean
life goes on as before
systematic, like a power grid
snorkelling heads of state
are frightened by the distance
between them and the bottom
and me, why I just sit here
and watch corpses pick themselves clean

the pressure of the water
is weighted in our favour
a polystyrene cup
becomes a perfectly functional thimble
a living, breathing human being
becomes a bow-legged homunculus
compressed grey matter
decides to become a walnut

babe, there’s no way for me to talk to you down here
I’ve noticed that vowels and consonants
make different shaped bubbles
but if you were to ever drift down here
with your submersible logic
I’d attach myself to you like a barnacle
no, fuck it, like a limpet-mine
and the implosion will obliterate you

your synapses will be
vast swathes of kelp
there will be found one day
an iceberg which breathes
plankton with human DNA
a squid changing to your favourite colour
a whale humming a song
your mummy taught you

nothing much from the surface world
can bother me here, and I’m glad
the sun’s relentless processing
does not stretch this deep
my avoidance of its deathly rays
has starched my skin
there’s an absence in these depths
and I’m the ghost who swims