Christian Robots Now Available

Alms-And-Zen are bringing out a line
of Christian robots good at herding crowds.
When you ask these robots, ‘What would Jesus do?’
they divine and answer what you want to hear
and supply out-of-context supporting bits of scripture
to use against any critics you still have.
They are seriously pious looking. They resemble
the obsequious nervously frowning you-know-who
that dances attendance on the Spurious Leader.
They’re not for sale but on a five-year lease
at 70K per month including updates.
Pro tip: get a pair for only 120K.


There has been no definite proof yet that we’re not immortal.

Our whisper jet screams ‘foul’ and smokes the cabin.

We are tenuous if anything. We belt
our seats. The First Class stewardess has no face.

Here in steerage we each get a turn to steer.

The joysticks they give us aren’t connected
to anything, we learn, except each other.

We would walk away like kings if we could stand.

The stewardess comes back and drops a comment:
‘Your joysticks,’ she says, ‘are also guns.’

We route and toot and shoot out all the windows.

Pi in the Sky

Once upon a time, long ago, before all elected officials were knowledgeable, wise, and dedicated to serving the people who elected them, a majority of elected politicians decided to ease the lives of their children by simplifying the arithmetic that they were forced to learn. They legislated that from now on that pesky mysterious number known as pi would be equal to the nice round number 3. No more fractions! Especially no more fractions that were also irrational and transcendental and quite probably the work of the Devil.

The ignorant rejoiced and granted their legislators the power to enrich themselves. Homework became a dawdle. Everything went swimmingly until the older expert builders and engineers died off. The new builders started erecting beautiful circular towers, calculating tower dimensions with the new, politically correct whole number 3: the ‘PC Pi.’

The new buildings collapsed. The economy collapsed. The government shut down. Only the elected officials kept benefits, money, and a semblance of well-being. The people arose and voted them out of office.

But that was all long ago, before all elected officials became knowledgeable, wise, and dedicated to serving the people who elected them.


What is a place when landmarks disappear?
Who knew wind blew so wildly? All fell down.
The map confirms that where we are is here.

It’s already hard to think this was a town
and that a forest. Where are all the trees?
Who knew wind blew so wildly? All fell down.

If there is no inside, tonight we’ll freeze.
Where the sun shown briefly through, would that be east
and that a forest? Where are all the trees?

Of all our problems it is not our least
that we learn that what we’ve lost we never liked.
Where the sun shown briefly through, would that be east?

I check the time and see that it is now.
The map confirms that where we are is here.
I look as far as gathering clouds allow.

Obsessive Inertia

Yesterday I published ‘Obsessive Inertia’ over at Medium, which, as they say about themselves, is

‘a place where everyone has a story to share and the best ones are delivered right to you. Every day, thousands of people turn to Medium to publish their ideas and perspectives. Leaders. Artists. Thinkers. And ordinary citizens who have a story to tell. Posts range from scrutinies of world affairs to deeply personal essays.’

I like reading stories at Medium with a browser at their website and also with their app on phones and tablets. I will probably post more of my own there too.



In a minute she will say ‘good morning’ and the ghosts
will scamper from my skull back to Biafra
where, like every day, the conquerers will kill them
and wipe the bayonets on oil-stained grass.

The sun will race everywhere when she opens the curtains,
its beams, at this prime distance, bringing me warmth
more bearable than gun barrels burning flesh from hands
that tried to push the noise and the light away.

My distance from the sun will make me welcome
its particles, the way we welcome ambassadors
who bring this message from so many lands:
Our oil supply stays safe, and in good hands.

Five minutes after firing stops, birds sing.
The smells of coffee, butter, fresh croissants
and the sounds of Jan Sibelius do their work
expecting my greeted skull to say it’s fine.

© Alan Reynolds, 1998 – 2016
I have worked and reworked this poem over the years, trying to write something that expresses my reaction to what I feel is the madness of being well adjusted in a maladjusted world.
There are too many examples of the maladjusted world. Here I went back to one which had a name and face many years ago, Biafra, conflating it with today and any day. Maybe I chose Biafra as my ‘scene’ (and Finlandia as my title, especially when listening to the music) because of Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote so movingly about that country when it was one: The Republic of Biafra, May 30, 1967 – July 17, 1970: ‘The tune of Biafra’s national anthem was Finlandia, by Jan Sibelius. The equatorial Biafrans admired the arctic Finns because the Finns won and kept their freedom in spite of ghastly odds.’ Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons: Opinions, 1974. p. 140.


We the also sentient salute you, foreign child.
We watch you take our reins.
We listen to your impatience.

The whip falls. We start.

You drive us down long roads
of any life you don’t maintain.

You kill what doesn’t please you,
flatter you, yield profit.

You decide.

My brother’s skull surveys your trophy room.

My sister’s pleas
preserved under clouding amber
amuse your child.

You open up empire
in homes we used to have.

There was memory
in that skull.

There was promise
in those pleas.

You drive us
those of us you keep
through meadows
of concrete.

We pretend you have reasons
to do this.

The last bird of summer
has joined the bees that died
this spring.