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by Ken Poyner

I tell you,
That place has the best electricity.
And the graphite, it is cross-cut,
Almost a dust, yet holding enough substance
To remain happily in your joints for days.

And when it comes to lubricant,
Don’t let the cute names fool you:
A few shots of Fizzbit Bliss
Will keep your servo-rotation speed
Well above factory expectation for at least
Two weeks. It is bus-flash excitement,

And at times it can get out of hand,
Trip a register, unblock an execution
Restriction or so. I have always
Behaved myself, but on occasion
You see some machine top off a battery,
Dust down with ultimate grade fractal graphite,
And plug into a can of designer lubricant,
Then absently swap into unpaged memory
A boastful branch hinting that it really
Is a model grade or two above
What its warranty says it is, and start
To get a bit rough with the
Vending drones, bump up hard
Against a safety routine, and bring
The sleep code down on all of us.

No, some machines just cannot play nice.

So, at the door they check
All the clients’ manufacture dates, let in
Only those that have had the time
To develop discretion routines, reticence,
Enough strings of the logic of social self-regulation.
A well-maintained crowd, so it would seem,
With service records suitable for advertisement,
Is the only clientele they want in the place.

Yet even with that, now and again,
Unspeakable code gets untimely broadcast
And suddenly you find yourself in reboot mode,
Having to begin your night all over again:
With a can of what you no longer recognize
Half-empty on the table, enough
Spilt graphite around to make you spike,
And a companion model charging beside you

About which you can only guess the serial number.
So then: there you would be, unsure what string
To put on the bus you two are sharing; wondering if you,
Or your apparent and disturbingly unknown mate,
Suggested the steep electricity you are ingesting; hoping
That if you earlier swapped through each other’s
Protected data sets, that at least — please —
Neither of your clueless owners will ever know.

Copyright © 2019 by Ken Poyner

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