Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, April 27, 2015

Note to Hart Crane


"For unless poetry can absorb the machine...then poetry has failed of its full contemporary function."

--Hart Crane



As I started typing this wad of words, sir,
I received a note from "my" machine:
Your html cannot be accepted.

Afraid or not, I am
sure the machine has absorbed us.
Ever adaptable (I type this
as if I mean it), we write
from and about the technological
innards, but we be the absorbee.

Rather than building bridges,
the culture seems merely
to have outsmarted itself
in ways even a good advertising
man like yourself couldn't
have seen coming. It produces
catastrophe in a businesslike manner,
very professional.

Atlantis is a casino
and a resort, Plato
was a fascist, and the Brooklyn Bridge is
quaint, and . . . .

. . .And everything, is the problem.
Anyway, from inside, unlyrically,
some craft reports like this
about the lovely contours of the machine,
the words floating like plastic trash
on the surface of "our" seminal html. May
a brother buy a vowel? Machine says no.

hans ostrom 2015




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