Welcome to the Machine

Give me an ultimatum and I’ll do the opposite of your demands. Society has shown its teeth but we remain its static prey, fresh meat sitting atop a plate. There’s no time for chasing whiskey with optimism while crosses burn and graffiti covers everything. If we keep mentioning heaven, we might find it, but it’s not here, in this territory marked with piss and discontent. Love is a corporate confidence game and sex is the only currency impervious to fluctuations in interest rates and consumer confidence. When folks say the future is now, they effectively downsize the present out of a job. People think of God in two ways, through absence or presence. I’m too old for fairy tales and never believed in Santa Claus. But without faith, I’d become a reluctant cog in a damaged system. Welcome to our splintered world. Welcome to the machine, in all its defective glory. Hallelujah.


The polluted water we swallowed as thirsty kids still taints our bodies. The aspirations we had then we still have now, only fewer, dulled, less believable. Welcome to the great state of confusion, population everyone, where citizens have ceased caring about the downtrodden, victims of happenstance, the whole shebang. Swallow this callous world and spit out the gristle. We survive if only in theory, trying to find something within us that longs to be named. We label it hope and keep it inside, a burden filled with the outhouse stink of regrets, bitter accusations, foregone conclusions.

Adrian S. Potter writes poetry and prose in Minnesota. He is the author of the poetry collection Everything Wrong Feels Right and the short fiction chapbook Survival Notes. Some publication credits include North American Review, Obsidian, Jet Fuel Review, and Kansas City Voices. Visit him online at http://adrianspotter.com/.