This Machine


this machine weren’t built to last …

(a long ride in a slow machine) 


planned obsolescence

is the order of the day:

for this here machine weren’t built to last.


the quest for longevity 

and the anti-aging narrative

have no business with

the corporeal self;

whose nuts and bolts

inevitably succumb to the passage of time:


wear and tear, 

rust and ruin  

– no trade-ins, nor upgrades

just back-street botched jobs 

to keep the motor ticking over a little while longer

(if you’re lucky).



I take full ownership of this auld rust bucket;

embracing all of its faults, 

limitations and flaws 

– proud of its protracted mileage and tired-out tread. 


the beaten panels that house this self

will neither define nor restrain me.

though no further demands will be made on 

this clapped-out contraption:


from A to B is the sum of my desired destination now – no further. 


you may push me to the limits: 

dent my dignity, 



– go ahead if you dare  (touch wood) 


 for this is what I have at my disposal 

and this is what I will work with,

not with any grovelling sense of gratitude 

to some pie in the sky grand designer of sorts;

but, with a grudging acceptance 

that the boulevard to breakdown is part of (and not opposed to) the business of life and living.


and, I, for one,

am most definitely, yet reluctantly, in for the ride. 




Emma Lumsden 12/12/23






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2 Responses to This Machine

    1. An amusingly interesting / metaphorical take on the body as machine and mortality.

      Comment by pejman sadiri on 21 January, 2024 at 10:44 pm
    2. Your unique voice has expressed a beautiful poem only you could find. Thankyou. I join you in the resistance

      Comment by Daniel Plackett on 21 January, 2024 at 10:46 pm

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