The Cybernetic Lullaby & One More

by Nolo Segundo (July 2024)

The Waiting Room, Matthew Wong (2019)


The Cybernetic Lullaby

Part I
They sing softly to us at
every click of the mouse—
Use me, I’m here for you,
only you, in the entire
Universe will I serve…
And we lay enraptured
as they bring us the world,
knowledge the wise men
of history never had, and
ease, lots of ease to save
us time and trouble. Soon
we cannot live without them,
the thought of it too mean.
Without them we would loose
touch with our friends, jobs.
Even our money might wander
if we cannot watch it daily.
However did our ancestors
survive without an i-Phone?
Part II
I read on my laptop today—
Automation is making us dumber,
ineffective, maybe even impotent.
Perhaps it’s a conspiracy by that secret
society, the computer brotherhood.
(Do you really believe your Apple is
innocent and IBM is not plotting?)
Or maybe we should just blame
human sloth, that siren call of
sheer damn laziness which can
lure the best of us to a quiet doom.
A simple proof: hand a twenty to a clerk
and ask him to make change without
looking to the machine for succor.
That blank, innocent look he gives you—
“Why me?” he seems to be saying,
And you can’t help but pity him a bit.
He is, after all, a victim of mass education.
There are worse victims:
airliners wildly crashing,
doctors killing their patients,
nuclear power plants going
BOOM! And killing the land
for an eon or two, or three.
How like little children we were!
thinking these machines would
be our slaves, sans the brutality.
But it is we who are chained by
the zeros and ones, we who are
thinking less, creating cheaper,
settling into a cybernetic fog.
Part III: When Androids Dream
When we finally build them
(and it will not be long)
will androids finally lead us
all to nirvana, a world of peace,
leisure, and endless wealth?
Could any hell be worse?
For that day will be when
we lose purpose, and soon
perhaps the very will to live.
When the androids dream
(and they will dream,
because we will make them
to be like us, for we have
always been a vain species),
will they not dream of sky
and soaring free of the land,
free of the weak, sad humans
they serve without accordance?


Then, when these humanface
machines begin dreaming in
daylight, they will see no need
for their progenitors, and those
of us left living as shells sans
struggle or pain or conflict, in
an existence sooo boring, will
doubtless welcome our end.




After Costco, Before Ukraine

You saw the lines weren’t too long
so you went for the gas first—
spend a little time, save a lot of
money you thought. But it took
much longer than you expected
so by the time you went into the
giant store, you were feeling like
a crab trapped in a net as you
wrestled through the weekend
horde of bargain hunters…

Finally at home, you plopped
down in the comfy chair as
the nightly news came on and
sipped the fresh brewed French
roast and ate a piece of rich
chocolate cake you bought at
Costco and felt a bit sad for
those poor people in Ukraine
as you watched war in hi-def.

Still, the thought uppermost in
your mind, as your eyes scanned
so many dead bodies lying quiet
in the streets like stones thrown
randomly, was just how damn
good the coffee was and how
much you had saved going to
the big box store…


Table of Contents


Nolo Segundo is the pen name of a retired teacher (America, Japan, Taiwan, the war zone of Cambodia, 1973-74) who became a published poet in his 70s in over 200 literary journals in 15 countries. has published 3 collections in paperback, the latest titled Soul Songs.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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