Pixel-Gene Hybridity: David Dowker’s Machine Language

Also received from BookThug’s 2010 subscription package, David Dowker’s Machine Language, a futuristic present haunted by shades coming into being and vanishing, shape-shifting texts, and cyborgs in the production line of a linguistic factory that manufactures mirages both magical and nightmarish. The atmosphere is suffused with coded signs and electrical currents, the screen inhabited by a hybrid of pixel and gene finding its muse in the common denominator of its nuptials.

A sample:


The sum of my self’s semblances.
An ache made shapely, maybe.
The itinerary of evasions: a most literary
sequence of eventual despair. A sense of
momentous indecision in the unquiet air
around here and no argument to reconcile
to, insistent intense as the discussion is.
This text entity actualized. Vast gasps
of syntax and sighs of delighted wrap-
around. A delicate instrumentality
hidden in the etymologies.
The feel of your fonts.
The tragedy of your line breaks.
The fragrant breezes flutter but
the poetic veneer is as apparent
as the insect which utters such
vernacular (o capacitance o
valence). Hypnotized by the spin
of a charming beginning. My darling
diplomat, de-mystified but never colonized.
A lesson in illegitimacy, illegibility of
the writing on the new and improved
axiomatic wall, depraved may
the flowering be, denied as mere raving.
Consider this dissonance. That is not that,
though. The map is not the genetic
expression of a mountain of hats.
Our cartoon existence predisposes us
to such extensions, such attachments.
Loony tunes to elucidate this feeling of
“that’s all, folks” and happy trails to you.
Until we are meat again. Easy habitation
in the light of another order of being.
Do we read by this illumination
or, merely burnished, turn to each other
and, chastened, make plans to abandon
plans of abandonment? Is this
the commission we were suborned for?
A brief, baffled season of leisure
to wax and polish our carapace, then
make space for the next regeneration?
Why else this fabled tale unscrolled,
scryed and de-scribed? Meanwhile,
in another part of the factory we see
demons sorting “abandoned car parts”
and angels huddled over lathes
(wings pinned behind their backs
and visors shielding beatific faces).
It is not clear what is turning,
but it is screaming.

David Dowker, Machine Language (Toronto: BookThug, 2010), 29-30

Camille Martin

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