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The inhumanity of nerds

“[A] very generous spirit — truly feeling what all merely profess — must inevitably find itself misconceived in every direction — its motives misinterpreted. Just as extremeness of intelligence would be thought fatuity, so excess of chivalry could not fail of being looked upon as meanness in its last degree: — and so on with other virtues.”
    ~ Edgar Allan Poe, “Marginalia” from The Southern Literary Messenger (1949)

Ah, those intelligent attractive intuitive women
We’ve left them way too many times
Too much in the way
Of disappointments
There were plenty to go ‘round
Among the firstborn sons who inherited the family farms
With the family debt
Reason enough to overwork every tool mule & hand
Deftly as one may wield dish clothespin & spinning wheel
In whom did the hope of generations remain
Not a person
Not even brain over brawn
To overcome at least for ourselves clod-busting drudgery
Wasn’t thus born
The worship of machines?

Ah, those intelligent attractive figures & neatly-drawn
Circuits we’ve designed way too many times
Only to watch them get cheaply produced & imported
Too soon thrashed & outmoded
At least the city brought opportunity to go ‘round
Of paying for comfort once in awhile
Or just for pretty pictures
Reason enough to take ourselves in hand
Being one less reason to understand
A person
Only the hope in our own kind remained whose infatuation
With brain or brawn
Hardly enough to overcome soul-busting loneliness
Leave what to bear us
The care for machines?

Ah, those intelligent attractive intuitive words
We’ve heard from old poets
Who never saw much in the way of going ‘round
Each in one’s own virtual world
What could matter more
Not a person
Who may well have reason enough to resent intellect
Yet consider no one so out of hand
As those few of us left thinking for ourselves
Fearfully different in brain and brawn
Our faces’ hopes to conceal not enough
Leave our very conformity-busting existence
To give birth to the deeper fear
Wouldn’t everyone rather deny
The failure of machines?

Ah, that intelligent attractive neatly-arranged screen
You stare into
Nothing at all
But a vehicle of our inhumanity
If ever we’ve been extreme it’s just that we’ve held a dream
Though we’re few and it’s a nightmare for the many
Right there in your hand
This ruin of brain with brawn
The heart-busting export of too many disappointments
Leave it and look ’round
A person
Is reason enough
Touch and be touched
Humanity’s born again
Who needs machines?

    May 2017

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