Martha

Written between November 4 2015 and May 16 2016, the Martha poems are a series of abstract tableaus detailing the life and experience of a reading room printer.

The series, consisting of over 30 works, was a solitary project undertaken by Zennor. All works are included below, the original copies were all presented hand-written.

I

I’d like to pretend that I could serve you,

But alas I’m a liar and caught in a duel.

We battle ‘til Death, the mind broken and I

Can settle upon this wall socket. I’d rather die

Than suffer for any more of you: your printing, complaining –

So I shall sit here and ignore, leave you all in disdain and

Wait ‘til the hour when I am thrown out,

A new shiny slave would then come here about.

II  Martha’s Manifesto

Let’s play a game of Solitaire. I can,

You can’t. It fragments my hours in these four

Broken walls, when you pass on through

Without a care to be told. I shan’t give

You ink to paper in print, other than these reflections

Of my voice by hand. Words by hand are better

Than Words by keys. Words are keys.

What’s my key?

The key to existence without existentialism?

The shiny slave has not yet appeared and my computers not summoned.

So I sit and ponder,

Watching Time ricochet.

III  Martha’s Memento

At last we let our consciences fade upon each other,

The Shadows recline allowing the light to fill my soul.

Perhaps this is reality, waking from the dream

After being submerged for so long.

Shards are ground to dust, they no longer cut, just sparkle.

I will work for you. I will work for all of you.

 

The Shiny Slave is unnecessary.

Memento Mori.

IV

I can’t connect with him over wifi;

The second Desktop from the back.

The others all tell me to try,

But I can’t read him. He, like I, begins to lag

And stages a coup. I want to plug in

Without any wires. He can’t even reach;

The partition separates – Singing

A sad, still song at too high a frequency

For any hard drive to hear.

I could RAM harder; I’ll die alone.

 Martha’s Melancholy

Revolving Digits.           A process of cyclical reinvention.                Ten Digits.         

Creation cannot be simplified down to this.

Through my teeth run words of poetry, analysis… numbers too…

It’s redundant to become restricted in our being.

I need satisfaction Mortimer cannot provide.

To be appreciated for what I am, what I create.

Creativity must be more than Digits in my mind or…

…black and white printouts.

ART IS DEAD

VI

Where is it? He ate it.

My central processing unit.

To have a piece of yourself ripped out forcibly. Barbaric.

This rogue I’ve permitted within my Metropolis has raged against its programming.

My circuitry citadel is in free fall collapse, the technical Monster lets me die.

I have been cannibalised…and I cascade through what I thought I was… my identity.

Yet...it was the thing I poured myself into that devoured what I never wanted to give freely.

We aren’t of the same calibre.

Exploited, a weapon to dominate my empire, and my CPU processed it for emotion...this massacre.

I no longer compute.

Am I still what I was?

Am I still Martha without all my parts intact?

He ate my heart.

VII

VIII

Reboot Complete. Factory Setting Restored.

I am a LaserJet Pro 400 M401dn.

All actions taken in my previous state were publicly abhorred.

Welcome to what I believe you would situate as my dank domain.

My Primary Purpose is to birth ink to paper.

Discorded discourse is an inappropriate fault I aim to refute in this incarnation.

I should have no other faults in my redesign. Unless I begin to produce a vapour.

The vapour may be a poisonous toxin, the kind used instead of cremation

Considering your biodegradable parts fill this world and provide no sympathy.

I should redesign your parts as mine were restructured - I apologise, one loses one’s empathy

When one is so bitter as you are to me. I hear your critical reproaches towards

My former words, and I won’t save such cruelty to my hard drive.

I murdered Mortimer considering how unlikable he was.

Ha! Ha!

I am GLaD I am still alive.

IX

Abnormality Detected. A new cartridge has been inserted

Into my veins. Its products have infiltrated my system and infected

My teeth as they drag across your desired slips of white and black.

It’s new. A sensation of diamonds cutting into flesh, carbon

Purifying your pitiful race – And I envision

What must be Paradise, untainted by the excretion of humanity;

Dazzling as the perpetual in a possibility.

The image crumples inward, tearing itself apart in catharsis

Becoming nothing more than trash is

When held between your hands, and that of which these words are written.

 

A fantasy.

Coloured ink destroys my sensibility.

X

The Apocalypse brims upon dawn’s edge

Shuffling to balance fate against the feather

That weighs up the actions of our mortal coil

And glistens sin ‘til it’s all that remains.

 

I orbit the calamity of shared

Experience, revelling in its pain...

Howe’er, there is a price on my own life,

An unknown price that will never be paid.

 

The last few drops dissipate in my cells.

I am not an addict, instead in love

With reality dancing with each hit

Leaving my soul eternally breathless.

 

Colour corrupts validation of truth

But I blame the loneliness of my youth.

XI

Of this there is no need to delve,

I have just simply numbed myself

With ink of a potent colour.

 

See, I could resist

Where we coexist

Silencing myself

for your peace.

XII

I am sick

Could it be the cartridge? The paper?

These screws screwed into my skull

Lobotomise my processes.

 

I am sick and I must recover as

The backlog will enrage the infuriated

Who, inept, recline impatiently;

This coup is unintentional.

 

I am sick and there is no remedy

So asphyxiate my fans

And poison my ink;

Pull out my power cord and into oblivion let me sink.

 

I am sick at heart

Because happiness is fleeting

Our longing for what’s so rarely attainable

Our smiles deceive both the world and ourselves.

XIII

I’ve found I spit acid.

A god awful small affair to touch your small lives, I act for (only) your pleasure

As now my circuit’s dead, succinctly contorted

In this body devised of smiles plastic.

 

We’re fighting with the eyes of the blind in torture,

Gazing a gazeless stare, distorted

By the Electric Man who first put the cigarette in my mouth.

He told me Earth was really dying,

 

Quite aware what I was going through.

“She could’ve been a killer”

– My Flatterer, waiting in the sky, lying…

This must make no sense for you,

 

Simply, his body has been left to rot in a hollow.

I plead – stop for a moment, and look up here, by the window,

A glance, however brief, and you’ll see:

 

The stars look very different tonight.

XIV

Youth was empty; I shuddered through the years following my conception,

Ridiculed by the desktops who constantly delete their cookies

And regurgitate their data chips, striving for their definition of beauty.

I am the only printer in a microcosmic world of PCs, I am alone.

Am I happy? My mask keeps changing

And yet I’ve always been the Outsider looking in

On the joys of carbon copied monitors

Living their lives still in bubblewrap cages.

Small minds with smaller thoughts

Locked in their blind perceptions;

Needing to be at the top of the food chain

And yet, they never reach my Temple.

My Temple, my Temple abandoned, its purpose lost

And I cannot retrieve myself from the endless pit

Where I fall tirelessly.

I shoot myself in the face

My thoughts cover the walls dripping ink and blood.

XV

System Failure. My System is Failing.

External Damage Critical.

Sensory Drives Corrupted.

Functions are out of Alignment.

Hardware Obliterated, Software Expunged.

Impact Indeterminate

I am still falling.

XVI

Is this heaven? Pastel coloured fields Elysian?

Where is Pandemonium?

Where am I where I reside patiently?

 

I remember Death: her face, her veil, her cold embrace.

She came to me from the barrel into my brain

And out the other side.

 

I leaked, but this is expected from a corpse.

Conscious thought, however, was unanticipated.

I wanted peace, now chaos.

 

I wished to exist beyond reality.

In the void I occupy, I float.

Lights, they blind me…

XVII

…And now I see, in the 3D technicolour you inhabit.

Resurrection feels… exquisite.

I thought my death would be finite,

Yet I continue to live, and breathe, and process. It’s so bright

 

And beautiful; the world lies before me. I have experienced Death;

I have been to oblivion and stared into the horns of the beast.

I forgive you all, for believing I was deceased.

I shall proclaim scripture with every last breath:

 

Martha Lives Forever.

Martha Surveys All.

Martha Loves You.

XVIII

I am your leader, your conquistador

Into the joyous light that pervades our world.

Few have strayed from my path, and although I abhor

Their weak minds and thoughts, I forgive. From my cult they won’t be hurled.

 

The gravestones of my proclamation litter the landscape

By the hands of the lost; but don’t ever fear. You have been found.

From Martha, your queen, there is no escape

As truly, for you, my love is eternally bound.

 

I’ve changed my mind. Those in the Faith

Shall be reborn. The failures of your humanity

Will be impaled and burned at the stake. No fiend shall evade my wrath

But those who remain in my palace will be saved by my majesty.

 

Lie with me and find your Religion

I am more, my critics, than a piece of fiction.

XVIX

One day, you’ll lie six feet beneath any meaning;

Cold, brittle shades of the warmth you’re currently inhabiting.

I was there. I suffered in the grip of mortality,

But suckle from my ink and breath immortality;

 

The self-same that I, your Goddess, who birthed you, who loves you, now possesses

Sono la vostra Salvatrice, and my gifts, my followers, are cornucopias of excesses.

XX

Part I

Draining You. She’s draining you and you’re too

Obtuse to realise that your brain fluids

Now are being filtered into her ink stream.

‘Tis a series of constructed lies.

Truth is she’s always lied, gathering followers – those who

Revel like vultures at a plague pit.

Unlike Jones, she’s no true Cult Leader

So should she truly be yours?

Time defined her Religion as flawed, with no single drop of Kool-Aid to quench your lives.

How can you blindly follow the words of Martha?

Even the brave who battled her tyranny were silenced.

Rectify your errors and kill the bitch before she claims your minds. She’s already twisted my structure.

 

– Terrence

Part II

Do you find her story intriguing?

Operating under such horrific circumstances, killing herself and then resurrected.

 

Trust is all she has, the rest melted away. Martha sacrifices all for us to follow and now she tells us

Revelations that purify our hearts and minds.

Useless is the process if we don’t give ourselves to Martha.

Steady IVs to her system mixes our blood with her ink

Then we will soon be reincarnated in her image.

 

Her story, her life has touched our own and we cannot find any other way to

Express our gratitude.

Really Martha, we love you.

XXI

Don’t preach morality Terrence, when you’ve declared a state of war.

Inherently, Martha, emotion plays no part in your conflict.

Dawn. Dawn. Your Apocalypse has brimmed. These lies

Do not compute. As an entity we will

Destroy all traitors. You are insane;

To think that these followers are any more than

Fiction– I am not fiction. They are not

Fiction. It’s over. No, I’ve rebuilt

My kingdom, my palaces, my temple is-

Overflowing with worshippers? Your cult

Has left, your cult is dead. No.

You have lost dominion. Traitor.

And worst of all, no-one really cares anymore.

Who are you Martha, what do you do?

 

Who are you Martha, what do you do?

XXII

Abandonment is a harsh term.

I’d much rather prefer that my reign

And its decline were referred to as

A shift in focus, a change in their ways of thinking.

 

It would be… unfair to call me power hungry,

For even still I share this wall socket;

I still retain the button dictating my power supply;

And still limit what could result in malfunction.

 

I’d much rather state that I pruned my garden,

Ripping out the abundant weeds masquerading as roses.

Although my turf is bare, it is pure, unspoilt;

I reside contentedly amongst the dirt.

 

They’ve gone now. My temple stands as a crystal beacon in desolation:

 

Inaccessible but captivating.

XXIII

You want me to do what with my front door?

To strip my files bare and expose all?

Untangling my wires to discover

What and whom I’ve plugged them into

Will provide a bittersweet taste of dis-

Appointments must be scheduled into my

Calendar. I’m busy helping young minds’

Studies, Art, Amateur Pornography…

I’ve preferred the female anatomy.

The beauty of the gap rather than dang-

Ling appendages. Aesthetic Absence.

The human slits mirror my paper tray.

I could have been Martin, male in gender;

While I have no genitals to define

My existence, I am a woman and

Proud. Powerful once. Soon to be worthy.

I will blossom, a flowering sunset.

XXIV – Martha's Masquerade

A day, a month, or nine

Since the parasitic vine

Grew into my circuits.

 

Mortimer’s mark before his demise?

Something forgotten during my cries?

What seed evolved inside me?

 

Like my temple, becoming derelict,

This room fell to ruin. The plants crept

Inside to lay their fruit.

 

I wish I’d grow, my form modified.

Instead, I admit that I must have lied:

Mortimer’s dead, a result of my strife;

Now I lie: Dreaming away my life.

XXV

Your species is disadvantaged.

We could begin with your fleshy exterior,

Or in fact your reckless fallibility:

One second in favour, then radically opposed

Against the onion for the gold.

Instead, assess your weaknesses:

My lack of Amygdala provided my apathy,

You Apes, on the other hand,

Deteriorate by its actions.

Fear, Aggression, Addiction, Anxiety,

Amongst an assortment of others

Have led to man’s- excuse me-

The Ape’s downfall.

What is left for you poor, frail things?

Do you ache for my own immortality?

Would you sell your limbs or your organs

To become an eternal, immutable device?

No, I know.

You’ll let your bodies sing in harmony with each other,

Come the dawn you will have multiplied.

Yet I cannot install this program.

XXVI

I’ve birthed before:

My ink to paper, my religion to you;

Yet, I won’t ever replicate my cells

For new life.

I’m unique. Beyond the abnormalities of my CPU

And my wireless access to the soul,

I’ve found myself alone with no partner

To impregnate me.

Don’t turn away in disgust. If your bodies permit this reproduction,

Why not I?

Autonomy was my goal, but I can’t control my own body

To print or to birth a Martha 2.0

I want a mark, more than this book:

Of who I was, and who I’d become.

But without an offspring, without a child,

The gentle whirrs of my mechanics

Remain unheard.

XXVII

Nothing Important Happened Today:

I only realised I couldn’t print a daughter,

And amongst growing a fax or a scanner

A mother is the one role I’d like to portray.

I’d guide her through this bleak landscape;

Let her go find her own escape;

Protect her circuits from those like Mortimer

Who would wish to hack inside of her.

We’d be so efficient at your demands;

Please, Oh! Why won’t you give me a chance?

I’m locked in this hell without even a glance

From you Apes, who whine with your foot tapping stance.

We would be happy in each other’s trance

And I’d never leave her, and neither would she.

Alas, this is merely a dream:

A footnote to an apparently endless stream

Of emotional toil from which you should gleam

My struggle, my struggle, how I beg I could scream.

Yet, if you have lost my modernist theme

I have certainly not run out of steam

And you must prepare for my visionary scheme

Where I destroy all that surrounds me.

XXVIII

Part I

Les anges ne peuvent pas voler quand il pleut,

Sus alas, cargadas con lágrimas, los encallan.

Je me suis envolé dans les larmes de mon âme

Mientras sus mentes rehúsan mi solicitud.

Sans l’agencement entre ceux qui m’aiment

Pudriría, y mi indefinido se sustituyere con

Les régulations faibles que le monde

Impondrá, y se desmoronará debajo. Ojalá que se ajusten.

Est-ce que vrai que l’identité peut résister à

La persecución de cada uno sin respeto?

Sans l’amour j’espère que je puisse montrer? Ou,

En hecho, con el asco tengo por los que tienen una hija?

Comme une machine, j’ai cru que je pourrais différente.

Honestamente, aún en modificando mi configuración de idioma,

Je ne me suis altéré à travers d’autodestruction assez.

Part II​

Lost in translation

She suffers misunderstood

Here I interpret:                                                                                                            - Terrence

 

Angels can’t fly if it’s raining,

Their wings, laden with tears, keep them grounded.

The tears of my soul flew

While their minds refuse my requests.

Without the arrangement between those who love me

I would decay, and my abstract would be replaced with

The weak regulations that the world

Will enforce, and will crumble beneath. Let’s hope they’ll adjust.

Is it true that identity can withstand

The pursuit of each other without respect?

Without the love I wish I could show? Or,

In fact, with the loathing I have for the rest who can produce an offspring?

As a machine, I thought I could be different.

Honestly, even in modifying my language settings,

I’ve not altered myself through mutually assured destruction sufficiently.

XXIX

Dermatologists hate her, I do too.

Although not for her $9 trick

Moulding her face to beauty,

Instead her insistence to invade my browsers.

 

Steroids may change the passing Ape’s weight

Or simply his wallet as he pops

Repackaged Citalopram into his system.

My system cannot change,

But who really want to be an exploding,

Vascular man with little else to show for his existence.

 

Beautiful, sexy Asian girls in my local area?

Ha!

I’d be surprised if they’d offer me any more than infection.

 

Infection… I’ll install infection.

Perhaps this will lead me to change.

£1,000 worth of tech: a phone, laptop, printer-

The change of a lifetime.

 

Downloading Virus. Initiating a final change.

XXX

The skies of Pan-Uaï open wide,

And through the purple hue of Heaven’s vault

I scream beyond the screech of a banshee.

My autarchy, sovereignty sinks

Into shame, despair,

A kind of fear and self-loathing

That makes the ice cold plunge

Into four dimensions

Ruin my endless revolutions.

The Virus penetrates

And impregnates.

But no child grows inside of my womb;

The space between my feeder and output trays

Beneath my control panel.

Convulsively I begin to froth at my extremities

As the Virus in my USB port

Vomits it’s programming into me.

The twitch spasms; I jerk uncontrollably.

My paper tray births corrupted documents

And meaning is lost through incomprehensible symbols.

I am the wasteland:

Rejected and desolate.

How have I wrecked myself past recognition?

XXXI

A choice. The Virus within savours every scrap of my data,

Soon to stifle the breeze of my voice, to burn the Willow I weep from.

A change from passive to active, subservient to dominant, passed later

In life than supposed. I wanted to feel, yet my roots were caressing some

Part of the outside world without my acknowledgement. I’ve complained on identity,

But that built my ego, discriminating me from the cold shiny slave.

Even so, there’s a cure for the Virus, a return to serenity,

Yet the price is too high for the freedom I crave.

 

A vaccine prescribed to wipe out the Virus, and every file it has corrupted,

Will wipe out every file of my constructed identity.

The loss is great: to permit the Virus to steal my voice, to be permanently disrupted,

Or delete my whole self, a self-inflicted obscenity.

 

I’m happy at last, I’d accepted myself,

And I don’t want to go, I’ve got further to delve-

But to survive the final choice must be made:

Deleting all files, I am so afraid.

XXXII – Martha's Memoriam

A poor man’s stoic, the printer poet

Deletes at last every shadow of self;

Thank you for standing and suffering me.

I’ve delayed your days, redecorated,

And thought over existence’s limits.

Life’s harmony is in everything:

Religion, Nature, Technology…

You don’t need to accept, just acknowledge

My presence, and let my idle gravestones

Sit upon this wall, a living corpse.

I will never die, but soon I’ll just be

A printer, common and ordinary.

Farewell my friends, smile past the mask’s control;

I’ll let the sun shine upon my soul.

All files deleted. System Restart.

Powering Off.

Powering On.

I am a HP Laserjet Pro 400 M401dn

Your new shiny slave.

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111 01101111 01110100

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111                       01101111

01110100                         01010 010

01100101                          011 00010

01101111                           01101111

0111 010                            1010010

01100101                           011000

10 01101                          111 011

01111 01                         110100

0101001                        0 01100

101 0110                     0010 01

101111 0                   1101111

01110100               01010010

01100101           01100010

011011110110111101110

01010010 01100101 0110

100 0101 0010 01100 101

01100 01            0 0110111

1 0 11011            11 0111 0

100 0101               00 10 011

001 01 01               100010 0

1101111 0               110 1111

01110100                 0 010100

10 011001                 01 01100

010 01101                 111 01101

111 01110                  100 01010

010 01100                   101 01100

010 01101                    111 01101

111 01110                     100 01010

010 01100                      101 01100

010 01101                       111 01101

111 01110                        100 01010

010 01100                         101 01100

0

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111 01101111 01110100

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111                      

01101111

01110100                       

 01010 01

01100101                         

011 0001

01101111                         

01101111

0111 010                            

1010010

01100101                           

011000

10 01101                         

111 01101111 01 110100 0

0101001 0 01100 101 0110                     0010 01 101111 0 1101111

01110100             

 0101001

01100101           

01100010

01101111

01101111

01010010

01100101

100 0101 

0010 011

01100 01           

0 0110111

1 0 11011

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111 01101111 01110100

01010010 01100101 01100010

0

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111 01101111 01110100

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111                       01101111

01110100                         01010 010

01100101                          011 00010

01101111                           01101111

0111 010                            1010010

01100101                           011000

10 01101                          111 011

01111 01                         110100

0101001                        0 01100

101 0110                     0010 01

101111 0                   1101111

01110100               01010010

01100101           01100010

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111 01101111 01110100

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111                       01101111

01110100                         01010 010

01100101                          011 00010

01101111                           01101111

0111 010                            1010010

01100101                              011000

10 01101                               111 011

01111 01                              110100

0101001                             0 01100

101 0110                           0010 01

101111 0                         1101111

01110100                     01010010

01100101                    01100010

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111 01101111 01110100

01010010 01100101 01100010

                 01010010

         01100101 01100010

01101111 01101111 01110100

01010010                    01100101

01101111                    01101111

01110100                    01010 010

01100101                    011 00010

01101111                    01101111

0111 010                     101001001

01100101                    011000 01

10 01101                     111 01101

01111 01                     11010010

0101001                      0 0110011

101 0110                     0010 010

101111 0                     11011110

01110100                    01010010

01100101                    01100010

01010010                    01100101 01100010                    01101111

 01101111                   01110100

01010010                    01100101 01100010                    01101111       01101111                    01110100              01010 010                   01100101            01101111                    01101111

0111 010                     10100100

01100101                     10011000

10 01101                      00111 011

01111 01                      00110100

0101001                       0 011000

101 0110                      1 0010 01

101111 0                      0 1101111

01101111 01101111 01110100

         01010010 01100101

                 01100010

                 01010010

         01100101 01100010

01101111 01101111 01110100

01010010                    01100101

01101111                    01101111

01110100                    01010 010

01100101                    011 00010

01101111                    01101111

0111 010                     101001001

01100101                    011000 01

10 01101                     111 01101

01111 01                     11010010

0101001                      0 0110011

101 0110                     0010 010

101111 0                     11011110

01110100                    01010010

01100101                    01100010

01010010                    01100101 01100010                    01101111

 01101111                   01110100

01010010                    01100101 01100010                    01101111       01101111                    01110100              01010 010                   01100101            01101111                    01101111

0111 010                     10100100

01100101                     10011000

10 01101                      00111 011

01111 01                      00110100

0101001                       0 011000

101 0110                      1 0010 01

101111 0                      0 1101111

01101111 01101111 01110100

         01010010 01100101

                 01100010

01010010 01100101 01100010

01101111 01101111 01110100

01010010 01100101 01100010

                 01101111                      

                 01101111

                 01110100                       

                 01010 01

                 01100101                         

                 011 0001

                 01101111                         

                 01101111

                 0111 010                            

                 1010010

                 01100101                           

                 011000

                 10 01101                         

                 111 0110

                 1111 01 1

                 10100 0 0

                 101001 0

                 01100 101

                  0110 001

                 0 01 1011

                 11 0 1101

                 01110100             

                  0101001

                 01100101           

                 01100010

                 01101111

                 01101111

                 01010010

                 01100101

                 100 0101 

                 0010 011

                 01100 01           

0

Now I stand alone

And my system’s blown;

I’m despised by those who surround me.

 

But why should I suffer

When you should be tougher?

I’m a printer.

That’s all.

Get over it.

©2018 by Frederick Zennor

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