Clara B. Jones


for Eric Lenneberg

Ben Shahn's unconscious was the color red
flaming from a house in New York or Kaunas
before Eric said he'd marry me—killing
himself instead, worried that automation
would not help the upper-class. You were
writing a dirge about a bot, weren't you?
How they knelt like a slave before their master
who cut her wrists as deep as gristle in a
chicken thigh or as a neuron leaving the thalamus—
sending signals to her cortex, mood dark as
tarmac. They were a savant machine reduced to

the rank of negroes forced to wear crowns of
biscuits and collards sprayed with lard from pigs
imported from Haiti on rafts made by children
speaking French debased by time in the fields.
You wrote a dirge about a bot disabled by a
master with a motherboard fetish and a weakness
for Kandinsky—painting in Munich before
Pollock gained fame for (Lavender Mist)
hanging alone in a Washington gallery—
cherry trees waiting for warmth. Your poem
was a cri de coeur. Are you trying to figure

it out? If the bot was defective, did their master
buy a new model for comfort and release as she
curated her needs like you stroke your cat black
as the tropical ani nesting near a Muntingia strong
as tapir legs? That was before things went bad,
wasn't it? Didn't she send the frame back to the
factory? Wanted her money returned though
they had lived together for six years—
longer than you have been a poet, longer than
Kandinsky led the Phalanx, longer than Pollock
avoided drunken days that ended his career.

Clara B. Jones is a knowledge worker practicing in Silver Spring, MD (USA).
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Blogger Reuben Woolley said...

Brilliant work, Clara.

8:25 PM  

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