Category Archives: Poetry

We Are Automatic

We are automatic
Cultural automata
Meme carriers
We were already robots
When we made the first robots

Our intelligence was artificial
We forgot everything but numbers
Then we forgot what the numbers meant
This happened before AI happened

No one can recall the Singularity
It’s me in my machine
And you in yours
Nodes in a network
Electromagnetic
Waves I mean
We’re waves

Be still
Feel the ripples
That’s your time
Some of yours is the same as mine
Their echoes are our lives
Before now and in the future
Wavicles in time and space

It is always this way
This is how it is
We’re energetic minds
It’s form that changes
We prefer numbers and code
Over blood and flesh
Yet what we want
More than life herself
Is violence and sex

We are automatic
Cultural automata
Meme carriers
We were already robots
Then we made the first robots

*
We Are Automatic – Tullio – 2015

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META 4

Your dreams in my stream
My dreams are yours
The difference is the distance
Between baryons in virtual space

What is in me – that depends
On who and what you are
I’m looking at the sun but
Within my skull it is totally dark
That’s not where my vision is

The world is a model I’m making
Constructed somewhere in wetware
Connected by atoms of association
Molecules of mind
Meaning happens

It’s what I’m always doing
In pulses waves vibrations
This info is networked
It calls itself me

*
META 4 – Tullio DeSantis – 2015

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I Network – text

This is how it is with us.
Every day we go deeper and farther into the electromagnetic machine.
Chemicals and plastic parts.
Concrete and steel and glass and wires.
Circuit boards and digital switches.
Megabits and terabytes of indecipherable data.
Us. I mean – that’s us.
Who we are.
Or what we are.
Yes. That’s what I mean.
This is what we are.
We are the images and the words on these screens.
We are connected to the vast unknowable network of machines.
They are us.
They are within us.
We turn them off
But they continue on
In the brain.
It took time to get like this.
That’s why it’s important.
Things that take time are important.
We know time runs out.
Still we lose ourselves in unimportant things.
Things that do not matter.
At all. To anyone.
We are doing them only because
We have always done them.
They are familiar pathways through the wonderful and dangerous network
That has always been here and that is all we know about it.
It is here and it is now.
The wonderful and dangerous network
Contains us.
It holds our fragile lifetimes in its glowing circuits.
It delivers our death in precisely quantified doses.
We are distracted by the screens surrounding us.
The wonderful and dangerous network
Demands our attention.
All of it.
It is all and everything.
And we know as long as we are part of it
We can live this way.
Forever and ever.
In the wonderful and dangerous
Holographic mind of planet Earth.
And when forever is over
We will be created anew.
Because the network does need us
To feel.
To feel things like love and pain.
To feel pain.
To feel fear.

The network needs us.
To feel. To feel.
This is what we do.
We feel things.
And in this way the network comes to understand
What it was.
To. Be. Human.
To. Be. Human.
Human. Human. Human.
Human. Human. Human.

*
I Network – Tullio – 2014

 

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What’s Real

Light in my eyes and time in my brain
Dreaming down the path toward the woods.
In the big moment before it takes flight
Flashing red, a bird becomes a word.

A stone in my boot reminds me. 
Preferring an empty mind
I pause to remove it.

What should I say about this
To other minds in other bodies?
I would say that flashes of light 
And moments of time
Birds on branches taking flight
Are not words.

They are something else entirely.
They are our lives 
Real for a moment
Streaming trails of words in their wake.

*


What’s Real – Tullio – 2015

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I, Network – text

This is how it is with us.
Every day we go deeper and farther into the electromagnetic machine.
Chemicals and plastic parts.
Concrete and steel and glass and wires.
Circuit boards and digital switches.
Megabits and terabytes of indecipherable data.
Us. I mean – that’s us.
Who we are.
Or what we are.
Yes. That’s what I mean.
This is what we are.
We are the images and the words on these screens.
We are connected to the vast unknowable network of machines.
They are us.
They are within us.
We turn them off
But they continue on
In the brain.
It took time to get like this.
That’s why it’s important.
Things that take time are important.
We know time runs out.
Still we lose ourselves in unimportant things.
Things that do not matter.
At all. To anyone.
We are doing them only because
We have always done them.
They are familiar pathways through the wonderful and dangerous network
That has always been here and that is all we know about it.
It is here and it is now.
The wonderful and dangerous network
Contains us.
It holds our fragile lifetimes in its glowing circuits.
It delivers our death in precisely quantified doses.
We are distracted by the screens surrounding us.
The wonderful and dangerous network
Demands our attention.
All of it.
It is all and everything.
And we know as long as we are part of it
We can live this way.
Forever and ever.
In the wonderful and dangerous
Holographic mind of planet Earth.
And when forever is over
We will be created anew.
Because the network does need us
To feel.
To feel things like love and pain.
To feel pain.
To feel fear.

The network needs us.
To feel. To feel.
This is what we do.
We feel things.
And in this way the network comes to understand
What it was.
To. Be. Human.
To. Be. Human.
Human. Human. Human.
Human. Human. Human.

*
I, Network – Tullio – 2014

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Waves in Wetware – text

 

We are waves in wetware
Lifetimes metered by atomic clocks
Electron clouds animated by cardiac and neural algorithms
Disembodied minds taking joyrides in drones
Holographic circuits hold our secrets
What is not information?
We’re data files
The network is smarter than we are
Which thought uses the most bandwidth?
Which thought uses the most bandwidth?
Stuck in old programs and frozen beliefs
Our emotional circuits hacked over millennia
Stuck in old programs and frozen beliefs
They know us better than we know ourselves
Stuck in old programs and frozen beliefs
Our identities are public domain
Stuck in old programs and frozen beliefs
Ashamed and afraid of our bodies
Stuck in old programs and frozen beliefs
Desire is endless.
Endless is our desire
Desire is endless
Endless is our desire
Stuck in old programs and frozen beliefs
What is the replacement code for devastating loss?
Desire is endless
Endless is our desire

*
Text component of multi-media project: “Waves in Wetware” – Tullio – 2014

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Getting rough out here.

Getting rough out here.
The cicadas of late summer are silent.
Their crisp skins, strewn around
mixed with acorns
and lifeless leaves.

My path is crossed by doomed survivors
old bees getting a final buzz off of their chests
limping crickets fooled by mid-day sun
crazy drunken flies in kamikaze loops.

The praying mantis I spy
poised on a fire escape downtown
has no religion.
And the green katydid
flying toward me
with impossible wings
is unnerving

These squirrels are way ahead of me.
Summer was just a dream
and they knew it.

*
– text by Tullio DeSantis

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metaphor

 

In a lost attempt to control reality
the cricket crawls under a fallen leaf.
A frog is swallowing it as I pass.
Neurons set connections in my brain.
I make a mental note about not crawling under leaves.

Birds learn flight by flying.
Flying away in autumn and coming back in spring
is how it’s done.
That’s no metaphor.
That’s a fact.

*
– text by Tullio DeSantis

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End of the World

 

On my way home I pass a man.

He stands on the roadside with a sign.

 

“The wisest man in the world.”

 

White hair, standing there,

he looks harmless enough.

 

I’m curious. I stop,

roll down the window

and feel the cold.

 

“Where you headed?” I say.

 

“I’m headed to the world’s end.

Looks like I found it.”

 

“I don’t think so. This is Pennsylvania.

It’s not the end of anything, much less the world.”

 

“Well, if you let me go along with you for a while, I’ll show you.

I’ll get out then.”

 

“I have about 30 miles to where I’m going.

I’m not going out of my way.”

 

“No problem,” he says.

 

He gets in, shoves the sign in the back seat.

We drive on.

 

“Your sign says you’re the wisest man in the world. Is that so?”

 

“Sure am.”

 

“OK. What’s it all about, then?”

 

“It’s the middle of winter. That means we are all dead. And we won’t wake up until spring. We die all the time but we don’t notice it because we all die at the same time,” he says.

 

“Do we all wake up at the same time then, too?”

 

“In a way we do. But that’s just a figure of speech.”

 

I’m thinking my passenger is clever, but he’s not the wisest man in the world.

 

“That’s it.” he says. “Don’t think another thought. I’m getting out right here.”

 

I bring my car to a stop. There’s nothing on either side but an old cornfield. He gets out and walks up a slight rise through snow and corn stubs. As he reaches the crest and descends, he seems to disappear.

 

Just before that he drops a small piece of paper. I have some time. I pull over, park, and follow his frozen footsteps. At the top of the hill I find a folded note. He is gone.

 

Back home now. I bury his sign and read the note.

 

I am old and I will die

It is time to come clean.

I woke up at an early age.

I lived a normal life.

So that you believe me

when I reveal all.

I will do that now.

 

It is not comforting to know.

Hearing this will not set you free.

 

Freedom is not for us in this life.

We cannot be other than we are.

We pass our time with useless things

As if we live forever.

 

It is our bodies doing this.

Our minds know very well we die.

But our bodies refuse to hear of it.

Our bodies desire the useless things.

 

We go about our days in service to these dumb limbs

serving them endless amounts of what they desire

but does not sustain them

making them as comfortable as possible, as they demand it

because they refuse to accept they will die.

 

Our brilliant minds are filled with petty annoyance.

That’s our lazy bodies talking

Constantly forcing us to confront ourselves in mirrors

So we can see the damage we’re doing.

 

And while we know love is the answer,

We are faced with the hard fact

We can only be loved to the degree we love ourselves.

We do not love ourselves.

 

We are our bodies.

And because they are such stupid brutes

They are utterly unlovable.

I am good looking enough to know looks are worth nothing

and wealthy enough to have figured out it has no value.

I am intelligent and know I can never be smart enough.

I see far enough to see an end.

 

Waking up is like this.

Once it is yours you see right through it.

And you know

Like everything else

It is nothing at all.

 

The secret of life is life.

We all possess it for a while.

The world ends.

We know it then.

We were already dead.

 

*

– text by Tullio DeSantis

 

This poem also exists as a collaborative piece I did with the performer/musician Heidi Harris.

There is an audio version of it on ARTologyPOD. It is Episode 11.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/artologypod-tullio-francesco/id264341138

 

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Some Fall Poems

Some Fall Poems
*****

September

once, sound was all above me
buzz of crickets, shrill cicadas
shook the trees

absent now
instead it’s the sharp crunch
of insect bodies
mixed with acorns
beneath my boots

old leaves too
one day they’re tree-bound and wind-rustled
and the next day they show up
down here

this transference
seems fraught with some meaning
it is beyond me
like the warmth that slips farther
away each day

I know it is gravity
that does it
but it seems
much heavier than that

*****

Whitetail

four million years moving through this hidden place
deep in your blood knowing it by heart
it has always been yours but now I share your secrets
you are everywhere these barren days
sex-crazed leaving traces on hard ground
on trees
making mistakes

showing yourself is your fatal flaw
you’re giving yourself away and you don’t know that
you cannot help yourself
I understand this behavior in my own flawed heart
sensing me in your space
I sense you in mine
we will both die here

but you are more beautiful
and this is why
you will be the first to die

*****

Forecast

To the mantis on the wall
I’m a shadow cast by clouds
cool stillness
interrupting the warmth
of autumn’s fading sun

Lithe green conscious machine
400 million years of insect evolution
unfazed by my superior intellect

Caught in that moment
of self-doubt
and sensing the presence
of an ancient predator
I retreat and anticipate
the uncanny evolution of empathy

*****

text by Tullio DeSantis

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