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Embroidered Bodies
Mary Catherine Harper

January 2007


Camping out on this side of the sphinx,
crisscrossed by vinyl-coated hardware
interface wires, dotted with toggles
flipped to the magnet side of the sky,
we overreach the magic of electricity,
we techies of the twenty-first century.

Even so, I like to imagine your hands
upon my face, both of them the smoky
gray shade of silicon dioxide, darkened
by the virtual sun of the LED for so
long that silicon and plastic encase us
like black varnish on desert sandstone.

I like to think this binary landscape
is body-friendly, but my mouth is
parched as we set up camp beside
the pixel-sphinx and trek for days
through protocols, through .ftp and
.html, looking for that code of codes.

I dream this is the desert sand burning
my eyes, not my own blinkless stare
into a faceless light twenty-two inches
from a nose that no longer remembers
the scent of roses or other embroideries
of flower, food, and human pheromones.

When logic fails, our program looping
back upon itself, what Happy Fall to
leave the riddle of the oroborus behind.

Miriam, Bitter Sea

Is this the only body that counts now,
these disarticulated bones of the skull
stripped of flesh, fitted with sockets?
One technology supplanting the last,
the plow rusting in a virtual field now,
dead steel jacked into a state of pure
will to power, forging the thought of
something new under an old, old sun.

However fresh-seeming such desire,
this old CPU is bound to a green sea,

bound to taste the bitter, salty foam,
ever swimming toward a shifting beach,
breathing in the deep organic language
as familiar as the soil, the sky, the water,
this flood of nostalgia for a garden free
of apples, fig leaves, and original sin.

Sin of the Cyborg

I would the universe to gather,
a celebration of apples
eaten hungrily two by two,
women feasting together,
a glut of tooth marks,
men facing their bodies
untouched by fig leaves,
and each testing knowledge,
the difference between
the sin of an empty mouth
and the earned innocence
of once-dormant seeds
spit from sated lips
to the rich black loam,
strong roots snaking
into rain-soaked ground,
and leaves shooting up
as fast as a star can
explode into the white
light of apple blossoms.

Job, Fresh from Cyberspace

Rich in naked finery you fall
fresh from apotheosis
back to your tribe on earth.

Here you are more welcome
than any starry eye
of the maker's face,
that face the trick of
a long-dead science,
the alchemy of
a jealous old sadist
with a head too big
to be photographed,
blowing tornadoes
to gyre honest folk

toward cold pasteboard stars.

When he makes wondrous lies
of his awful
you believe him,
accord him your own
generous intelligence,
ask your progeny
to do likewise,
a continued charity,
this gift of generations
to a beggar thought
still hungering
for your fine blood and bones.




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