portion of the artwork for Peter Schwartz's poem

Songs for Machines That Don’t Work
Peter Schwartz

in 1985, i wanted a gold tooth
i wanted proof i could be destroyed and still smile

a year later breaking became moshing
my tiny body undid everything at night

we’d get so big we’d spit adrenaline
laughing at our obvious lack of a reservoir

until they trapped us in that basement
like songs for machines that wouldn’t work


i wanted to be an elephant with million dollar memories
not a guilty possum

they put petroleum in our sandwiches
then bathed us in embalming fluid
different serums closed different chambers
they experimented with gravity too
i made a friend made of a different kind of flesh
who burnt so well for the things i wanted

but they beat him too like a song for a machine
because that wasn’t what they wanted 


i wanted a submarine so i could stop breathing
through the gills in my neck

i wanted pocket forests for the million times
i didn’t run from their squawking vultures

i wanted new sneakers for all their fancy funerals
i wanted a helmet filled with better concrete than my skull

i wanted a decoder ring, two calculators and an invisible gun
i wanted capes made of fat adult skin for hide-and-seek

i wanted my own orbit and rock candy for fatigue or dizziness
i wanted worms to eat my enemies until i realized they were too

there’s no word for drowning aggressively
because everybody does

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 47 | Spring 2016