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  • Jessica Lee McMillan

The Business of Living


Image by thoroughlyreviewed.com on flickr. CC, some rights reserved.

Becoming a robot is trading out

each rogue bleeding heart,

until it is mechanized with valves

and fittings too tight for art

or for climbing trees to greet the stars

and pulse becomes technology at the wrist

so we get on with the business of living.

We engineered the land with rod and slab,

trading out rogue trees for stacks,

We program our minds with positive thinking

lest the corruption of melancholy teach us

to decompartmentalize our insides

It’s a surface game to see who conforms best

to the models of success in mechanized lists


The fully converted have kids for the progeny,

have them raised, enroll them in activities,

comb out their knots and their waves

to get them on a track and enslaved

to the virtue of efficiency

Their pets are walked in rectangular blocks,

leashed, and removed of their reproductive parts

so there are less to roam the grid of streets

Our same animal heart needs one crack,

one dream to dismantle the machine,

one inefficient, overwhelming emotion

spreading green like an overgrown field

echoing into the bowl of constellations

Bursting at the rivets my soul interjects,

my inspiration rises to flood and short circuit

every circuitous agenda and mandate

that puts me at odds with living among

the other fully-converted machines


I would not last long as a full-fledged robot,

and I am trading up microchips for vascularity,

casting down the industry components

into the junkyard of prefab ambition,

I am trading aluminum arms for nodes of a tree,

grafted to make poetry with shadows

while conversing with the starry ceiling

to get on with the business of living

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