Editors Blog

2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 27

The April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge is designed to help poets do one thing and one thing only: Write more poems! The process of revision may go on for weeks, months, and years later, but this challenge is all about getting that first draft. Please poem along with us–either in the comments below or silently at home.

For today’s prompt, write a mechanical poem. Either you’re mechanically-inclined, or you’re like me and hit things to make them work after they break (which, by the way, rarely works).

Here’s my attempt at a mechanical poem:


her circuit board
her engine
her voice chip

all of it
short circuits
when he’s around


Workshop Your Poetry!

Writing poetry is exciting, but the hard work of poeming is working through the revision process. The best way to work through this process is to workshop the poems with other poets, and that can be done with the Writer’s Digest 6-week course, Advanced Poetry Writing.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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Want some more poeming fun? Check out these previous Poetic Asides posts:

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181 thoughts on “2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 27

  1. foodpoet

    all is rote
    nothing changes
    the mechanics of living
    is routed by the breakdown of memory
    and I
    I in the middle
    plan nothing but the day ahead
    with no changes allowed

  2. cstewart

    In Grade Seven

    My vocational counseling questionnaire said
    I should be an engineer, an artist or an actress.
    I have tried all three and I like all of them.

    Is there a determinative test for a result of
    “aptitude for many things.”
    One that would psyche out a particular choice
    One that would not include obvious test questions like:

    Would you rather sing a song, draw a picture, or fix a car?
    Any test taker could weight a test with those questions.
    Maybe that is what the test determined,
    Who can see through the test and make it come out
    Like then want.

  3. bxpoetlover


    Never been one of those kinds of girls
    that liked to get my nails dirty
    but if you were here
    I would lift the hood
    ask how to check my oil
    and battery
    I would ask you to name all the parts of the engine
    take notes while you talk
    let you show me how to fill and change my tires
    My mechanic is a good one but
    no one tops my daddy.

  4. shethra77


    Branch to
    seven open rungs
    on the ladder
    If this is TWINK, then run SINK
    *****buzzzzzz beep*****
    Does it end?
    No? then repeat
    Where’s the top of this
    *****buzz beep*****
    *****blink blink blink blink blink blink blink blink*****
    Start again
    Define TWINK stop
    Tweak SINK stop
    Does it end?
    *****beep beep beep beep whooooshhhhhhh*****
    *****ILFBGOO is undefined*****
    Damn straight
    Branch to awake

  5. Linda Voit

    Why We Need Each Other

    There must be a gene for wondering how machines work
    and needing to fix them. And there must be another gene
    for just wanting them to work. I have the latter gene.
    I try not to offend these saviors by interrupting
    their passionate relay of the how and why
    of what they did to say, “OK, so does it work now?
    Thanks a lot and here’s your check.”

    I get it, though.

    I’m on the other side of the grammar gene.
    When asked to check a letter I explain the change
    I corrected. “You’ve got a dangling modifier here.”
    Who would not want to know that and how
    to avoid it in their next letter, I wonder as they say,
    “Thanks, looks good,”
    and turn to their next task. I leave knowing it’s likely
    they’ll jot a note to someone and probably write
    “After fixing the letter, my morning list was done.”
    And they won’t even care.

  6. Lindy

    Mechanical Zombie

    As such the smiles that innocence grants
    etch painted faces in their wake,
    so must our demons invoke the chance
    to rebuild souls in dark mistake;
    mechanical smile and covert glance,
    this mystery cyborg’s plated face.
    We’re all but children of circumstance,
    that life becomes our undertake.

  7. profal29

    mechanics it seems
    is just a dream
    to someone who used to be
    a technician by trade
    a router of lines
    a dreamer of words to say
    but now I see
    those words to me
    and down they go to read
    but are they good
    do they move you
    as they should
    or even make sense
    when you read

  8. tunesmiff

    (c) 2013 – G. Smith (BMI)
    Every day is like the day before,
    I get, pour coffee, and head out the door.
    I work late, then head home;
    Another night spent all alone.

    I’m just going through the motions,
    Running on cruise control;
    Trying not to feel a thing,
    Ignore the aching in my heart and soul.
    Put my life on autopilot,
    To make it through the day,
    A robot with no feelings,
    Since you packed and moved away.

    We were married a dozen years,
    Slowly laughter turned to tears.
    Tears turned into nothing at all,
    And I realized when you made that call,

    I’m just going through the motions,
    Running on cruise control.
    Trying not to feel a thing,
    Ignore the aching in my heart and soul.
    Put my life on autopilot
    To make through the day.
    A robot with no feelings,
    Since you packed and moved away.

    How did it happen?
    Who’s to blame?
    Sad new is
    No one wins that game.

    I’m just…
    Going through the motions,
    Running on curise control;
    Trying not to feel a thing,
    Ignore the aching in my heart and soul.
    Put my life on autopilot,
    To make it through each day,
    A robot with no feelins,
    Since you packed and moved away.

    Every day is like the day before;
    I get up;
    Pour coffee;
    And head out the door.

  9. Nancy Posey

    April 27 Mechanical

    Even though I know he must have gone to work
    when I was young, I only remember his fishing days,
    long after retirement, puttering around, dropping
    his pocket knives off the pier, at my beck and call,
    for me hanging tire swings in his backyard oaks.

    I’d seen the pictures, though, when he was young,
    bearing a hint of a swagger, confidence of youth,
    almost a pioneer, building dams, bridges, roads,
    moving his young family from one project to another
    along the Tennessee River Valley, always the first
    to arrive and establish a home in the new village.

    He gave me free rein among the little drawers
    in the chest holding all his relics of those years,
    amid the buttons and folded notes. Best of all,
    I loved those mechanical pencils stored there,
    imbuing the deep drawers with their sweet aroma,
    the heady scent of lead, to him the smell of work,
    of calculations, but to me, the smell of words.

  10. THEGingerSass

    how to toast a sorority girl

    previously, in my mind,
    a sorority girl was a simple recipe:

    1 part giggles
    2 parts tits
    1/80 part dignity
    3 parts superficiality
    1 part loyalty
    1/2 part bitch
    1/2 part crazy
    2 1/2 parts pink
    and sprinkled with as much school spirit as the booze would provide.

    for the past 5 years, my recipe proved to be pretty solid,
    with only the occasional modification.
    that was, until now.

    now i’m dressed in
    3 parts hairspray
    1 part new dress
    1 part nice shoes
    2 parts makeup
    and 1 part biting my tongue

    for my

    4 parts butch
    2 parts secretly girly
    2 parts kindhearted
    1 part silly
    1 part tux
    1 part bow tie
    all parts love

    a-typical sorority-girl girlfriend.

  11. EbenAt

    Many a future engineer
    liked to take stuff apart
    as a kid.

    Here’s a tip:
    Taking things apart
    doesn’t take courage.
    What takes courage is
    to truly not give a fuck
    when you put it back together
    and it doesn’t work
    right away.

  12. ewdupler

    Lefty Lucy

    But not for long.
    Adjusts the wrench and then
    She torques it with a few more spins.
    Car girl.

    She likes
    Challenges, too.
    Using the tools to make
    Mechanical problems of yours,

  13. Yolee

    My mechanical pencil
    and I have been apart.
    We had a poignant connection
    until a fast and slick
    one grabbed my attention.
    What was different
    about the new liaison
    changed habit when
    my thoughts needed
    an outlet. I miss the point
    my old friend made.
    I miss the sheets
    we rolled in.

  14. vsbryant1

    Love of Home Entertainment

    Red goes with red
    Yellow with yellow
    White with white
    And now the sound is just right

    Now there’s the red with the red
    Green with green
    Blue with blue
    And the TV plays magically

    Suddenly HDMI is the new hotness on the block
    Sleek, low maintenance and taking over the spot

  15. finallyhereiam

    Mechanically Yours

    Well, it is,
    As you may see,
    Without you, I will go free.
    It is with you, that they tied me here,
    It is with you, and its Fate’s decree;

    I see, said his lady love,
    And cannot without you pull or shove.
    I need you to hold me tight, so that I can slip alright,
    I want you, just as you want me O,
    Without you, I am lifeless, a line.

    “It is when you wind yourself,
    Along my rim, I appreciate more of myself.
    Together, we balance it so well,
    Should we miss, it dispels.

    And so said the pulley to the rope,
    “Oh Dear, I am forever, mechanically, yours”.

  16. Ber

    Mechanical Minds

    Telepathic interests
    feelings coming out
    wondering who they were
    where they came from
    minds mesmerizing each others emotions

    Movement of their feet
    around each other
    looking into dark eyes
    glowing images
    to their surprise

    Hands held together
    lips combined
    love of eternal lusting
    future hearts entwined

  17. Rosemary Nissen-Wade


    When it comes to mechanical
    I prefer digital.

    In either case I am inept
    but, with IT, more apt

    to solve things by trial and error.
    Cogwheels cause me terror,

    and all the other metal bits;
    they give me the — er — spits.

  18. drwasy


    Through this day
    my body breathes
    into clothes
    not needed–
    brushed teeth
    combed hair
    but barely

    A bus whisks me
    to my desk
    grey & cluttered
    my brain moves me
    into the chair
    the monitor blinks
    my hands tap
    lunch passes
    Earl Grey at 3

    A bus returns me
    dinner retrieved
    tv & wine
    to unwind
    after Johnny
    the couch swallows
    my body
    through this night

  19. DanielAri

    “Consider the machine”

    A. Assume the machine possesses
    some minute fractional measure
    of the soul of its creatrix.
    B. Begin its automatic whirl.
    C. Observe how all its procedures

    execute in what seems a pure
    ballet of physical science.
    D. Mentionless variance accrues
    and releases—the innocence
    of physics plays on mechanics.

    E. In its fraction of soul, a sense
    of wobbling, a proto-tango,
    quasi-Judo, or meta-dance
    lifts automated a-go-go
    to some level of surrender.

    F. Study the machine as it slows.
    Its maker’s friction makes it glow.

    1. BDP

      Much to like about this entire poem, but “lifts automated a-go-go / to some level of surrender” caught my eye most. I’ll consider machines differently now!

  20. Alpha1

    Iron Bull

    Midnight cowboy
    afro hair
    lookin for a rodeo
    in Times Square
    ten-gallon hat settin
    high on his dome
    toe-pinchin boots
    walkin miles from home
    searchin side streets
    moon light shinin full
    hot on the trail of
    mechanical bull
    Midnight cowboy
    afro hair
    ridin iron bull without
    no fear
    ten-gallon hat
    settin tight on his dome
    found him a rodeo
    far from home
    on a side street
    moon light shinin full
    thrown from the back
    of mechanical bull

  21. omavi


    She fixes me
    As heart broken in pieces
    She repairs me
    As mind short circuits
    She re-energizes me
    As soul lays hurt
    She heals me
    She revives me
    Tool and die and sweet caresses
    She fixes me
    Upgrading me from a mere man
    To a vision of perfection
    In her hands I become better
    More than a man
    She automates me
    She completes me

  22. Benjamin Thomas


    From the center
    To circumference
    Our entire being is just
    One awesome organic expression
    Of flowing biochemistry
    Dynamically acting
    Reacting harmoniously
    Mysteriously in unison
    And strictly within boundary of
    The universal balance of homeostasis
    Exploded from specifically coded
    Blueprints elegantly designed
    Marvelosly well-built
    Well-aligned Elements
    bit by bit
    Brick by brick
    Atom by atom into
    Gorgeously complex
    Structured molecules
    Plastered, shaped,
    Wisely connected
    Fitted together
    To make you, you
    And me, me

  23. Sara McNulty

    Smart People Cannot Do Everything

    Group of engineers
    hunched around oval table
    at meeting to discuss
    structural and architectural
    aspects of new power plant
    to be built. At my desk,
    outside this room, I sit juggling
    telephone calls, and setting up
    priorities for my workload. Boss
    comes out with report in hand
    requiring copies. He decides
    to make them himself. One
    minute later, he calls out,
    ‘the machine is out of paper.
    I don’t know to load it.’

    Poetic Asides
    April Challenge – Day 27
    Write a mechanical poem

  24. Benjamin Thomas


    The phrenic nerve
    Forever plugged into
    And motoring rhythmically
    our diaphragm
    Contracting, relaxing
    Contracting, relaxing
    Contracting, relaxing
    Involuntarily at it’s own pace
    Expanding the thoracic cage
    Taking, receiving, relieving
    Itself of unnecessary gases
    Dependency at its best
    All unconsciously
    Thank God, while we rest.

  25. Deri


    I would
    the smooth
    nothing of you
    your face
    crush your
    still fingers
    crack the
    knob of your
    just to make
    the mechanical
    of your
    black heart

  26. PowerUnit

    Nothing sooths the soul like fluid gears, like a skater on fresh ice
    The effortless rotation of the focus ring on your pair of Celestron binoculars
    Or the German shifting in your Mercedes Benz Coupe’s gearbox
    And you know the world is right in your hands

  27. Benjamin Thomas


    Our bone’s cells those precious busy little worker bees
    send endless messenger chemical keys
    depositing and removing these minutely massive
    endless materials supporting our hefty frames
    So significant yet we hardly know their names.

    Our bone’s bells and whistles go largely unnoticed
    Its exceptionally intricate detailed work spent behind closed doors
    Its when we’re frail and the mechanics poor
    we begin to experience the thorns and thistles
    of life’s mechanics gone awry. Sometimes we
    scratch our heads and wonder why?
    Hopefully then we learn to appreciate
    those little worker bees.

    Its because of them we can bend our knees
    run, jump, reach, live as we please. But sometimes
    our bones break unfortunately; and with them, our
    hopes are broken too. But those little worker bees,
    the osteocytes if you please; never give up and go right
    back to work. They repair, reshape, remodel, they share in the midst of despair
    adding hope, stability to our weakened frame.
    You just gotta love those precious little worker bees.

    1. LCaramanna

      Oh, I read this to my husband recovering from a fall that fractured his hip. You “poemed” him encouragement. Thanks!! So far my only offering has been a senryu:
      his game changer fall

      from kitchen stool fractured hip

      surgeon said he’s screwed

  28. Connie Peters

    Arm of Pain

    Mechanical bull
    Mechanical arm
    Arm and hammer
    Arm candy
    Candy Land
    Candy cane
    Cane chair
    Cane handle
    Handle with care
    Care package
    Care Bear
    Bear cubs
    Bear hug
    Hug bug
    Hug kiss
    Kiss me Kate
    Kiss bliss
    Bliss and joy
    Bliss and peace
    Peace sign
    Peace keeper
    Keeper of the law
    Keeper of the stars
    Star light
    Star bright
    Bright eyes
    Bright beginnings
    Beginnings and endings
    Beginnings and beyond
    Beyond me
    Beyond hope
    Hope fulfilled
    Hope and love
    Love child
    Love poems
    Poems about life
    Poems for kids
    Kids in mind
    Kids eat free
    Free and easy
    Free as a bird
    Bird dog
    Bird brain
    Brain teasers
    Brain pain
    Pain in the neck
    Pain reliever

  29. BDP

    “The Anti-Mechanical”

    We pushed off and our legs t-boned the sky,
    rocking the swing set ringed by backyard cedars.
    That first summer in the new house, our dad
    chain-sawed the trees, bulldozed the play space,
    paved it for the stretched body of his Olds.

    The second, ants crawled from my mayo jar
    bouquet, spread across the kitchen table
    to the floor, and mom asked him to slash
    our only row of pink peonies, this last

    shock softened by a field of hawkweed flush
    behind my Grandma Lee’s vegetable garden:
    kiwi-skin stems, blended orange petals painting
    Aunt Lizzie’s nose, my uncultivated
    happiness among the deep vanilla

    scent in the sun. After moving from the farm
    adopted Grandma B wrapped a plant
    into an 8 in the east light of her home
    and called it a solemn Crown of Thorns.
    Flowers waxed tears onto the sill

    while dragons snapped color at Grandma Peters
    by the lake, rectangular concrete pens of them.

    Today near my drive, a clover in gravel,
    orphaned from elsewhere, reaches to my hand.
    I smooth fingers around its rabbit tail,
    pull its fur across my palm, leave it rooted in
    the hillside down to my voracious suburb place.

    B Peters

  30. carolecole66

    What Did You Say, Dear?

    My mechanical “yes” to your question
    helped get you off my back,
    but did little to solve the problem,
    merely delayed it until the day
    you showed me my packed bags
    and our tickets to Bali.

  31. Domino


    Isn’t it strange,
    the way ones body
    can simply go on
    even in the face of the most
    horrendous stress.

    How strange,
    surreal, even,
    to be standing at the sink
    calmly washing dishes
    when my whole
    has turned
    completely upside down.

    I feel almost as if
    I am watching myself
    from above
    or behind,
    slightly off center.

    I feel numb,
    but somewhere,
    deep inside,
    there is a howl
    trying to escape.

    And so I continue
    the mechanical
    Swirling the warm soapy water.
    Sudsing the plate/cup/spoon,
    and rinsing in water so hot
    it leaves my hands scalded,
    yet untouched,
    because the real pain
    isn’t on the outside.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  32. Benjamin Thomas


    Sometimes life can be quite mechanical
    and not in the least green or botanical
    but rather mundane, lacking robust spontaneity.

    As the gears turn and grind, the years crank
    and cry but cannot resist the relentless burn,
    yet hopes to be freed from their rigidity.

  33. Marian O'Brien Paul

    This is a MECHANICAL poem because I followed NaPoWriMo.net’s prompt to take the first 3 words of a common proverb or phrase, plug it into a search engine on the web and skim through the first few pages of results, collecting words and phrases that interest you. Then use those as the inspirations (and some of the source material) for a new poem. Voila!

    Better a broken …

    ankle – you can skip work
    toe (than leg, but you should ice it)
    nose if it was ugly to begin with

    Better a broken …
    piece of jade — than whole piece of pottery
    mirror if you’re into risk-taking
    or non-broken Kimberwicke bit?
    (Answer: a leverage bit with a broken mouthpiece is
    unnecessarily harsh on a horse’s mouth)

    Better a broken…
    promise … or, you could keep it
    mindset — after all a new perspective will enlighten you
    courtship, especially when your fiancé is Drew Peterson

    Better a Broken …
    Vows Mystery book (you can find one @ Amazon .com or maybe in your local library)
    or is it Better to be Broken? (Also a book advertised on the web)

    Better a broken …
    – down NYC to D.C. train than no Amtrak wine tasting (see The Huffington Post)
    car or a computer?
    Parking meter if you are broke

    Better a broken …
    defensive line when you are the aggressor
    reality or a broken game? Which one changes the world?

  34. Larry

    My stove has stopped working
    Whatever shall I do?
    I know how to fix it
    But I think a new one is due.
    With all the new gadgets
    Plus energy efficient too.
    My life will be easier
    I believe a new one will do.

  35. RJ Clarken

    Mechanical Things

    “In the next century it will be the early mechanical bird which gets the first plastic worm out of the artificial grass.” ~William E. Bill Vaughan

    Synthetic stuff is what’s in store
    for nature, and for all of us.
    So artificial, fakey, plus
    we do not mind. We ask for more.

    And yet. And yet, I’m not at war
    with modernizing. Let’s discuss
    for nature, and for all of us.
    Synthetic stuff is what’s in store

    ‘though creature comforts, I adore.
    Don’t want to be a Gloomy Gus.
    Just like it real without much fuss.
    Some balance is what’s called for, or
    synthetic stuff is what’s in store.


  36. Michelle Hed

    I love your poem Robert! It was the inspiration for mine. Thank you.

    He Talked to Her

    Tongue tied, face red
    she sputtered stunted syllables.

    Like a puppy, he cocked his head
    and smiled at her.

    She sighed, smiled back
    and tried again.

    He took her hand
    and kissed it.

    She wisely
    didn’t open her mouth.

    He grabbed her hand
    and took her out for coffee.

    They still hold hands
    but she no longer sputters stunted syllables.

  37. Angie5804

    Oh how I want a time machine
    programmed to go back
    to contented times
    self-starting and self-regulating
    instinctive and intuitive

    it will find that July 4th
    when we relaxed under fireworks
    with two kids cavorting on the lawn
    one not quite born, yet dancing
    one still a thought we’d yet to think

    it will transport to
    warm spring evenings around the supper table
    with homegrown beans seasoned with bacon

    it will impulsively find amusement
    when we laughed at,
    and in spite of each other

    it will automatically land in the year of the we met
    so full of newness
    so full of wonder

    and perhaps travel back, back,
    to kick-the-can and glow in the dark antics
    and fried chicken
    and Daddy’s lap

  38. taylor graham


    Today they let me go.
    It’s Nature Day in NatureLand. SUVs
    and sedans, more arriving all the time. I can’t
    wait for the forest to catch up with me.
    Past the old railroad grade for carrying logs
    out of the woods to be mechanically
    turned into walls and doors that
    long ago became kindling for a fire.
    When did the trees give out?
    Berries ungrade everything with their dusty
    sweet black breath, their voices. Coyotes
    eat them in the dusky dark, and leave
    their sign full of seeds and fur.
    I taste one berry close to the thorn, to the bone.
    Game-trails beckon through the green
    eternity of bramble. Old sleeping-
    bag adobe’d into clay, someone found
    a hidden space to sleep among sweet berries
    by the pond, where they put a cyclone-
    fence around anything so wild, but maybe
    that’s just my amnesia. Clouds of pond-
    water when my pup emerged to shake
    her joy all over me. Today
    they let me go, issued me fresh batteries.
    I didn’t tell them about the pond, out beyond
    the bridge, quietly slipping away.
    They’d’ve said I’m crazy.

  39. Margot Suydam

    Online Dating

    Through the mesh
    of fiber-optic speed
    I gaze at your network
    of lonely offspring
    and tabled thoughts.

    From what I can tell
    the globe no longer holds
    us round, but takes a blistering
    turn down deserted corridors
    to stale, messy bedrooms

    where the links and chain
    are more vocal than visceral,
    There are no voices, but only
    words that haunt and hurt
    the scrambled vacant faces.

    What people smell like
    asleep in soiled bedsheets is
    made quiet, drowned out
    with the stiff staccato
    clicking of keyboards.

  40. Bruce Niedt

    Your robot poem inspired me today, Robert:

    Birthday Robot

    I need a robot to absorb all my birthdays,
    so he will be the one who needs service
    and repair, more often every year.
    He’ll be the one who everyone will tell,
    “You look pretty good for your age,”
    and “You’re only as old as you feel.”
    He’ll get all the snarky getting-older birthday cards,
    and he’ll be the one who will worry
    what will happen when his warranty runs out.
    And while he’s fretting about circuits
    that don’t connect so quickly any more,
    blockages in circulation, dimming light sensors,
    joints that creak with every movement,
    I’ll be lounging on an island somewhere,
    no older than last year, sipping a piña colada
    and sending him a snarky birthday card.

    And here’s a “bonus” short poem:

    You’re Only as Old as You Feel

    “A little age can be a wonderful thing.
    Take a fine bottle of scotch for example….”


    1. julie e.

      Haha! I’m with you on this idea. I seem to be at the age where the clerks at Ross on 55 and up discount day KNOW they’re being cheeky when they say “you don’t look old enough!” I would prefer the pina colada on the island to putting up with that. Let the robot deal with it! Lol!

  41. LCaramanna

    Write On

    A Capital Letter
    To begin,
    Precise language
    Delivers the punch
    In subject verb agreement.
    Spell words,
    Select homonyms,
    Write tense consistent throughout.
    A comma slows the reader’s pace,
    Words in quotes speak volumes.
    Punctuation marks the end
    Exciting !
    Questionable ?
    Everyday normal .
    Mechanics make the message clear

  42. julie e.


    “If you wash the grater right away
    it’ll clean easier” she’d say
    mechanically, every single time,
    I pulled out the grater, assuming I’m
    incapable, my mother-in-law.

  43. PoM

    From ancient days to modern now

    Sloth of humanity escaped its plight
    Fashioned tools made the work burden light

    Then came copper bronze iron steel
    Tools carved history of humanity

    Rode Elephants camels donkeys the like
    Humanity used animals mechanically

    Now no need creature’s oxen yoked
    Plow fields grow crops feed family
    Now have tractors made by John Deer

    O we humans our mechanical ingenuity
    Now even fly mechanical machines through mid air

  44. julie e.


    and his bad dreams involve
    machines he can’t fix
    and other people who
    can’t fix the machines
    and workers who don’t
    get it don’t understand
    what he’s saying
    and machines that are
    old and past saving
    the usual nightmares
    of a mechanic

  45. Sondie

    I Lost My Comfort

    The doctor rotates my arms
    and I feel the slight jerk
    like a catch in every gear
    of a cogwheel.

    I am a ratchet moving
    quickly in the wrong
    direction to nowhere
    I want to go.

    Locked in my skin alone
    with thoughts that can’t
    be loosed by word or action
    or expression.

    That I know what the end looks
    like gives me no
    comfort in the days of life
    I have left.

  46. alana sherman

    Things Mechanical

    The very best things that humans make
    have always been
    for their very own sake—
    for instance air conditioning:
    When it’s hot and steamy
    the AC’s wind blows cool
    I lie around, I’m no fool—
    I can make it cold
    and I can make it colder.
    Bless the person who invented it.

    Oh, I’m for people who concoct
    all gadgets—electricity which makes it light
    and fires up my computer
    the lowly barometer—harbinger of weathers,
    telescopes so Saturn’s rings are easier to see.

    Yes, I applaud all things human crafted: Hot showers
    microwaves and the Kodak (that took the photo
    of my mother, seventeen, with a bruise on her knee.)
    Life is short and Icarus’s tale just doesn’t appeal to me.


  47. De Jackson

    I’m Running Out of Steam, Punk

    This poe
    is un
    -cogged and
    gizmo water logged
    and running out
    of rhythm, realm
    and rhyme.

    The future is tic
    and tock
    and the work
    -ings of the clock
    are all out of gear
    this long,
    wrong year.

    It’s knew-
    and new
    manic and
    with a series of
    clicks and clacks,
    you see,
    it’s about to be
    before its time.


  48. burrhead

    Before internal combustion engine tractors
    When oxen pulled the plows
    Farmers already possessed mechanical skills
    And know-how
    Windmills and separators
    Had parts that broke and needed repair
    And usually the farmer was the only mechanic
    Around anywhere

    As tractors and combines
    Big wheel motor driving
    The farmer’s job became more complex
    As repairs required more knowledge
    Of engines and of wiring

    That is why I had to grin
    Found it a little comic
    downright ironic
    When my car broke down in front of Farmer Browns
    He just scratched his head
    looked at my car and said
    “don’t look at me,
    I know nothing about ‘chinery or ‘tronics”

  49. dextrousdigits

    Pencil in Hand

    Keyboards let me pound out my words,
    relic taping from typewriter days.
    Gel pens flow with color and offer
    rainbows and hues to enliven dry shadow images.

    Yet, from time to time
    I must feel the Pentel Mechanical pencil
    .7 or preferably .5 lead in my hand.
    Putting the fine lead into it
    is preparing the pencil and
    loading my brain.
    The fine lead to record fine words.
    A bridge between
    brain, neurons, fingers
    with paper
    with people.

  50. PressOn


    My mechanic says the Ford is done,
    this car that’s brought me years of fun.
    The engine block is warped and cracked;
    the clutch is slipping; gears are wracked
    by missing teeth; there’s only one

    ignition wire where spark can run.
    “There’s not a thing under the sun
    that I can do, and that’s a fact,”
    my mechanic says.

    I know I should have long begun
    to look at cars; long have I spun
    my mental wheels and failed to act,
    in hopes the coupe would stay intact.
    But this is it. Wear favors none,
    my mechanic says.

    1. BDP

      Nice! The rondeau form suits your subject. I like the spinning of “mental wheels”–hard to act on replacing a favorite car, or even a not so favorite one.

  51. Glory

    Mr Mechanical

    He speaks, one tone for all
    He stands straight, he stands tall.

    His eyes hollow, show no life
    His face stony, no sign of strife.

    His hands cold, cold as ice,
    His touch, a touch not wanted twice.

    Is this man a man I knew
    Or just a robot, that I view

    He really is, cold unflinching?
    I look at him and I’m thinking

    Mechanical that’s what you are
    Just a rotating ice cold star

  52. PressOn


    So much is false in the world today,
    we’re surrounded by legions of fakes;
    all awash in things not what they seem,
    we even have fake lakes.

    You can buy fake flowers to sniff forever;
    date a blow-up dolly named Lisa;
    but thank goodness, something still is real:
    there’s no mechanical pizza.

  53. nessajay

    Kevin has mastered the crane game
    that machine with a glass case full
    of plush toys key chains Americana
    and the mechanical claw you move

    left right front back with a joystick
    ordinary kids feed dollars & dollars
    & dollars into the slot trying to get
    the toy they want the toy that falls

    again and again or that never lifts
    Kevin surveys the array of felt and
    plastic he accesses a cache of data
    he has spent his life gathering data

    about the claw mechanism’s track
    object’s tilt & orientation answers
    to questions casual players do not
    ask as they mindlessly play what

    they believe is a game of chance he
    only targets the claw on what it can
    actually pick up he has never sought
    the Stewie doll (smooth round head

    will slip out of the pincers) although
    he is a die-hard Family Guy fan, its
    close to religion every so often the
    items get jostled into positions that

    mean the claw won’t grab any prize
    in that case he waits nearby to warn
    foolish ones – don’t waste your time
    they don’t listen pump coins into the

    slot then watch prizes slip fall land
    on the heap obeying laws of physics
    “I told you so” means nothing to the
    master operator of the crane game

  54. PressOn


    It’s old, it’s holed, its heater’s cold
    it starts begrudgingly:
    my car’s a pile of fool’s gold
    and costs accordingly.
    It yet may put me on the dole,
    my personal Titanic,
    but ah, I have an ace in the hole:
    an honest, good mechanic.

    He fixes things that grind and shake —
    the shafts, the gears, the pumps;
    he changes plugs and turns the brake
    and smooths assorted bumps.
    No engineering folderol
    can ever make me panic,
    because I have that ace in the hole:
    my son, the ace mechanic.

  55. burrhead


    The muffler wasn’t muffling
    Rusted broken tailpipe
    Needs repairing
    the back half of the pipe scrapes on the pavement
    sparks fly from the street
    that cop on the corner seems impatient
    at least that is what I believe

    the driver’s seat is broken
    it rocks back on acceleration
    should fix that pretty soon
    each time I take off
    the seat rocks backward
    my foot leaves the gas pedal
    and the car suddenly slows
    pitching me and the seat forward
    and forcing my foot back down
    upon accelerator
    which makes the car go
    and then the seat rocks back
    and my foot again leaves the floor

    so my car and I go hopping across the road
    in front of the cop
    my tailpipe roaring
    and sparks flying from below
    the car rocks back and forth
    I look over at the cop
    And he is shaking his head no
    Back and forth in time with my foot
    That keeps raising and lowering onto the gas pedal
    As the exhaust continues to roar
    Sparks fly from down below
    The cops head keeps time alright
    I think he is saying to himself
    No, no, no
    Which means it’s the end of his shift
    And he doesn’t have time
    He can’t believe my nerve
    He doesn’t want to waste his efforts
    To write me all the tickets
    That I do deserve

  56. PressOn


    One would hope the graduate pediatrician
    is pure physician, not a mechanician;

    and one would hope the graduating surgeon’s
    a mite more skilled than Hudson River sturgeons;

    and one would like a newly made oncologist
    to be an actor, not a mere monologist.

    For after all, these new-diplomaed doctors
    are now entirely free of all their proctors,

    and hence they have to practice
    all their knowledge and their arts,
    and patients must have patience
    till their skills match all their smarts.

  57. Rachel Blake

    wind , wind, wind the key
    watch her dance around
    the music tinkles
    red velvet floor
    leather case
    costume jewelry landscape
    pink tutu
    coiffured french pleat
    ballet shoes on plastic feet
    disciplined to stand up straight
    by metal spine
    from head to toe
    she has no one to see
    nowhere to go
    she spins entirely at your request
    at first fast
    time passes
    she slows
    close the lid
    she lays to rest
    entombed until you next
    open the box
    wind and wind
    her arms ready raised
    turn again , again
    in music land
    precise, unphased.

  58. priyajane

    ‘A poem is a small machine( or large) made out of words’- W C Williams

    April has sprung an eloquent machine
    Poem coffees squirting cream
    Laced with frilly body parts
    Not just mind but soul and heart
    Some factory round-up musical talks
    An enchanting world outside the box
    Musings that can seek and find
    An express belt that unzips minds–

  59. burrhead


    So many pieces
    So many parts
    How am I going to recall
    Where they all go

    I do like to dismantle
    And see
    The inner workings
    Of a machine

    Springs and clips and housings
    Lay scattered
    All over the floor
    Why did I unbolt
    And open it up
    Just to see the insides
    When it worked just fine
    Before I got my grubby hands
    All over the intricate and delicate mechanism
    That was in good working order
    Before I got curious
    And dissected the damn thing
    Now it looks a mess
    Of scattered springs, clips and housings
    May never be the same
    And worse yet
    If I don’t get it back in working order
    I will feel a failure
    Which I wouldn’t have to confront
    If I would just keep
    My hands in my pockets
    Instead of splitting cases
    Just to get a good look
    At the intricate workings of mechanizations
    With idiosyncratic
    From part to part
    That I will never understand
    But I can’t help myself
    Curious to a fault
    I like to take things apart
    But then they lay
    Scattered all over the floor
    And may never be whole again
    To work
    To run
    To be useful
    As tools
    Or to even look interesting
    To anybody else with an inquisitive mind
    To anybody else with desires to start
    Something they won’t finish
    Floors all over this land
    Are covered in
    Springs and clips and housings
    You wouldn’t even imagine
    That the parts assembled
    Made wonderful machines

  60. happys

    ~Mechanical Pencil~

    Before mechanical pencil was invented
    We used traditional pencil at school
    Sharpener is its matching tool

    When mechanical pencil was created
    Refillable lead has been the rule
    Handy to carry and so cool

  61. Jane Shlensky

    Mechanical Bull

    For some, it comes so naturally,
    the back and forth, the spinning ’round,
    sweet rolling banter, complex, full–
    some folks sling mechanical bull.

  62. Jane Shlensky

    Mechanical Love

    He knows the cogs and wires,
    the push and pull,
    no bells or whistles,
    tilt or twirl or thrill;
    his skilled attempts
    at sex so workmanlike,
    mechanical and uninspired,
    like knowledge of the plugs
    without the spark.
    But he’s all revving,
    racing, spinning tires,
    thinking that he can
    make this engine hum.

  63. burrhead


    I want to help you work on the car
    Bring a flashlight it’s under the stars

    Follow my hands with the beam
    And we’ll make a good team

    Shine it there in the hole
    While I try to cajole

    This bolt thru this bracket
    By turning this ratchet

    Now hold the light still
    While I work on this grille

    Keep shining it there
    Not up in the air

    Try not to shake
    Or I’ll make a mistake

    Cross-thread a nut
    Or misplace a strut

    Keep paying attention
    While I try this ignition

    Tighten the fan belt
    So it doesn’t melt

    Son you did pretty good
    We can now shut the hood

    Pick up the tools
    Wind the cord on that spool

    Thanks for the help with the light
    We are done for the night

  64. dr todd harris


    Aging Train tracks’ uncertain mechanics
    awakened me
    sunsetting afternoon’s
    coastal waves
    painting fellow passengers’
    seaside window-portraits

    Partly risen fog
    exposed surf’s uncertain gait
    gravity’s clockworked secrets
    shaping western horizon’s curve
    Azure eddies
    seeking early moon’s great cerulean second hand.

    Palming Father’s still late pocket-watch
    mourning fingers
    gray-shod tension’s
    silvery forehead-sweat
    cold-working Parkinson’s ceramic face


  65. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Quantum Mechanics in a Nut Shell

    Quantum mechanics departs from classical mechanics
    primarily at the quantum realm of atomic and subatomic length scales.
    Quantum mechanics provides a mathematical description
    of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behaviour
    and interactions of energy and matter.
    The mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics are abstract.
    A mathematical function known as the wave-function provides information
    about the probability amplitude position, momentum,
    and other physical properties of a particle.

    Which for wordsmiths like thee and me, can be simply translated
    as the bits in The Big Bang Theory that don’t get laughs.
    Except of, course when Penny looks blank or even better pretends
    that she knows what Leonard and Sheldon are talking about.
    Advanced developments such as quantum field theory, string theory
    and speculative quantum gravity theories also play a major part in the dialogue
    and likewise are not in the slightest bit amusing – unless you are trying
    to work out why your cat chases a length of string like a lunatic.
    Now that’s funny!
    String Theory – Tee, Hee, Hee!


  66. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Blissful Ignorance

    Inside the box are whirring thingamies
    and doo-hickeys
    that connect to widgets and whatchacallits
    and they’re what make it work,
    (apparently there are no hamsters on tread wheels
    or little leprechauns involved – who knew?)
    The mechanic with a sharp in-take of breath
    and a grimace lets me know that it will
    cost an arm and a leg or both,
    but blissfully ignorant of the workings
    of the internal combustion engine,
    my watch, laptop, wind-up mouse
    (for the cats’ amusement)
    and assorted etceteras,
    I willingly hand over the hard-earned,
    resigned to the fact
    that such is the way of the world.
    I use it,
    I don’t need to know
    how it works
    and if you were to explain it to me,
    I would undoubtedly respond
    with a puzzled expression and a querying
    “How much, dear?”
    Wholly against the concept of D.I.Y.
    preferring, by far, a policy of Y.D.I.:
    You Do it Instead!


  67. priyajane

    Engineerings of a genius mind
    With drawing squares and rooting sines
    Shining pieces of an earthly core
    Encrypted by some special laws
    There’s power food to feed this lad
    These puzzling pieces, then, well clad
    Pinching bolts, attaching parts
    And lo behold a work of art!

    Pulling, drilling, printing, ploughing
    Swimming, curing, heating, drying
    Visuals that can hear for miles
    Zapping thoughts and auto smiles

    They cannot feel our loving ties
    Supposedly, have straight forward guides!
    We love, abuse, confuse, misuse
    And when they’re ill we blow our fuse!!
    Heartlessly, the wrinkled are junked
    As we move along, improving spunk

    These babies that we thought were slaves
    Are masters now, that we so, crave!

  68. missjoyce

    A mechanical poem.

    The Bridge

    She opens the lid at 8 pm sharp,
    7 am his time,
    hoping for a short chat
    before he runs out for work.

    She presses a button;
    the system boots up,
    lights would flicker
    as she takes a sip of coffee.

    The welcome screen appears;
    she taps on the keys
    for her password
    hoping it will load faster.

    No other program
    but theirs that she opens
    waiting for the popup
    that he’s online.

    Six minutes past
    and the call starts
    as they exchange stories
    about her day
    about his dream.

    His alarm goes off
    as time beckons for him to work
    as time permits
    only little for goodbyes.

    And for that short while
    a mechanical wave
    brought joy and love
    across continents.

  69. Jezzie

    Car Mechanics

    When I was married to a mechanic,
    I was constantly told I was thick,
    oh so thick!

    I couldn’t get my car to start
    even though I had taken the plugs apart
    and warmed the distributor head on the stove
    if only to prove
    I had learned a bit from him.
    But still he thought I was dim,
    oh so dim!

    But those days are gone now, as has he,
    and now I know what it’s like to feel free
    to be thick, to be dim, to be me.

    And so if my car won’t start today
    I’ll call out the RAC or the AA.
    I have to pay, but I have to say
    I like it better that way!

  70. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,
    A win but at a price! An injured catcher and
    a pitcher with a broken hand! The DL gets longer
    instead of shorter, what we need are some androids
    or bionic ball players that don’t break every time they take
    the field. Damn sure an engineer would be cheaper
    than a surgeon too! Speaking of mechanics, I’ve got a ringing
    in my motor not dissimilar to the one I get in my head
    when yer ma & sis are beating their war drums! Wish I could
    fix the former with a few beers and a ballgame but I guess
    it’s back to the shop to see Big Joe. Jimmy the Greek says
    if I respected his ethnicity the way I do Joe’s, the mechanics
    of our relationship would improve. Dumbass! He could be Martian
    for all I gave a hobo’s cuss, it’s being a Braves fan that I despise him
    for. So I’m ready for an afternoon at the stadium and some more
    plucked and stuffed Jays on the menu.
    Pick me up at 3 – bring the do-re-mi, I have a feeling my big end is
    gonna cost me big time (not unlike yer mother’s!)

    Yours mechanically challenged but stepping up as ever,

    Ringo the Howler

  71. Sally Jadlow


    Much of life is lived
    on mechanical setting.

    Get up,
    go to work,
    come home,
    do it all over again.

    Take a moment.
    Sniff spring flowers.
    Notice the various shades
    of green.

    Inhale the fresh air.
    Praise the Maker of it All
    for His excellent handiwork.

  72. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    The parts are scattered – helter/skelter.
    To the novice, it looks like a mechanical explosion
    but he knows were each part is and where it belongs.
    True, the bits often do not return to their origins
    but then again, we often find new homes in unlikely places.
    The true genius is in taking what is left and creating
    just the right tool to help make life interesting.

  73. Raina Masters

    Mechanical love

    Your voice is measured, a perfect monotone drone
    that tells me how to get to my sister’s new house
    on my first drive there, tells me if I should expect
    rain and wind, gives me suggestions for dinner.
    I don’t know how I ever did without you before.
    Today, I made you sound British, you deep voice
    resonating at 7:30 in morning – “Good morning,
    Raina.” I can’t hug you and you can’t make me
    waffles and bacon for breakfast. It’s not the ideal
    situation, but I know you’ll never leave me for
    a nineteen year old.