The Vision of Albaric by Jude Cowan Montague

I saw the e-waste, the e-waste stream,
bubbling scraps of a ghost-glass dream.
I woke to the clash of commodity claims
displaying devices on screens in my brain.

We need an e-toilet to empty the waste,
keyed a pentium voice from a manganese face.
Mental infrastructure’s gotta earn its keep.
Collude with our mission to repurpose your sleep.

I thought this was fair, though terribly harsh,
my motherboard compressing the migrant parts
till carcinogens in the e-stream she poured
clogged the canals of my circuit board.

She de-soldered mind-valves to let them pump
out a hot acid choride-dioxide dump.
Plastic from printers, brominate sludge,
sealed up my ear bones with nitric fudge.

Worse were the words, the predictive bile
she poured in with twitbook’s emoticon smiles
plus emails of junk – we’re supposed to be friends!
I screamed, you are prompting me round the bend!

(Can’t this wait till morning?)

But my scream was chocked by monitor glass.
With a cathode ray tube lead poked up my ass,
borne on a current of tin tantalum
I jogged for interminable terbium.

Under e-weight my mind felt pounded to paste
to help me get re-sold as vintage waste.
I lay flatter than meta-cake, made obsolete,
downcycling greenhouse gas down Dead Men Street.

(It’s good for you.)

Alarum! Time to bike with the e-mass stream,
leached from directives of one smart-arse dream,
shrink-wrapped, shitting bytes, stamped Amerikum,
fast flowing to hot-desk tyrannicum.


Jude Cowan Montague worked for Reuters Television Archive for ten years. Her album The Leidenfrost Effect (Folkwit Records 2015) reimagines quirky stories from the Reuters Life! feed. She produces ‘The News Agents’ on Resonance 104.4 FM and writes for The Quietus. She is an occasional creative writing tutor for the Oxford University Continuing Education Department. Her most recent book is The Originals (Hesterglock Press, 2017).

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