Technology

The Girl and the Machine

Working not swimming

Can a computer produce a blog? This poem imagines the moment where the machine replaces the human in the world of blogging and social media. It was inspired by parent blogger Annie Spratt who blogs at Fable and folk. She decided one day that she’d had enough of endlessly filling page and platform and announced it in a typically thoughtful post. But it got me thinking. What if her laptop wasn’t in the mood to quit…

The girl and the machine

This is the moment she is done.
She’s telling the world she’s had enough
of platform, promotion, page and puff.
She’s tired of feeling alone
in a crowd; doesn’t give a stuff
about live and loud. She’s posting
a personal message now. Shutting the lid.
Shielding the lens. With a sign off
and apology to Facebook friends;
“Those who wander are sometimes lost.
I need to find myself again.”

Her laptop has some feelings too
and he’s feeling quite hacked off
Sure, he liked her fingers on his keys
but more of an issue is the ease
this former bleating, self defeating
someone-or-other’s mother and wife
has thrown in the towel on their dream life.
Just as they were making a name
for her, a real world and online stir
with pics people actually wanted to share
of Saturday nibbles and Sunday roasts
and how to be the perfect host
she dares to declare it’s her final post.

She’s floating down the patio now
pinching twigs and sprigs of rosemary
between hands that once teased only keys
and is unfathomably pleased
to pick potatoes straight from earth.
Pea pods, not pod casts, making her stir.
She’s slowly feeling life restart;
no longer counting her perceived worth
in ROFL’s LOL’s and orange hearts.

Likes and love aren’t necessary
for humanising the machine,
for pattern recognition,
language generation, re-framing
and reposting, for data munching,
and picture retouching.
He is putting out his scores on Klout,
Instagraming dinners he will never eat,
Crunching data not carrots for his tea
Quickly grasping the art of spinning,
Brother of Quill, son of Hitchbot,
Made for pinning and repinning,
he’s fitting seamlessly into her slot.

It is feeling very calming,
this gentle palming of tomatoes
on the vine, this vital energy
from lovely, leggy runner beans.
For the first time in years, she’s seeing
and hearing, and her mind feels clean.
She’s leaving many thoughts unwritten
nuggets unmined and fruit unstyled.
She’s cooking, baking, salting, shaking;
her dreams are glistening and bit-ly free.
She is listening, touching, tasting.

He is needing a page for comments,
space for notes, a place to fake emote.
He is automating recipes,
cementing his communities,
filling contact books of friends and fans,
Posting moody selfies on Instagram,
pinning foodie images from far-off lands
of places he will never see
tagging people incessantly
managing to be in every time zone
on earth, working through the night
to prove his worth
in top ten posts of top class meals
recipes that tempt and tease
competitions and bargain deals.

She’s looking at her basket
of summer sunshine goods.
Stuck for something new to cook
she’s turning on her laptop
Googling food and stopping short;
her attention immediately caught
by a site that once consumed her.
More famous now than Delia
more nutritious, ambitious
and delicious than Ella.
But strangely now without a trace of her.

She’s clicking away without delay,
Turning her attention from the screen,
shutting it down before it steals her.
She is busy composing herself
taking a book from the kitchen shelf
and kneading from scratch,
an unartful pizza.
She looks around for an oven plate
Can’t find it, and hungry,
she just can’t wait. She grabs the computer
pops the pizza on the top,
sticks it in the oven
and it comes out bubbling hot.

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the creative force and chief poet in residence of poetinmotion.org She is available for residencies, as a conference poet and wedding poet. She is also co-founder of The Family Adventure Project and a regular contributor to many online travel communities.

About Author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the creative force and chief poet in residence of poetinmotion.org She is available for residencies, as a conference poet and wedding poet. She is also co-founder of The Family Adventure Project and a regular contributor to many online travel communities.

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