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George Watsky reads his poem, "Great Speed".


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Hi my name's George Watsky and I'm going to be reading my poem "Great Speed".

There are a few things that play in my poem. One of them is my relationship with technology, one of them is my relationship with my partner and how she has encouraged me to be more flexible in the nuance with which I view technology, and also my relationship with my own work and how often when I look at it later I realize how much I've either grown since then or how much it challenges me to grow by seeing flaws and blind spots in my own character from the past. So, this is my piece "Great Speed". 

You let me paint your fingernails black
While you sat on the bathroom floor
Me on the lip of the tub
      one foot on the tiles
The other under the warm faucet
      slowly unfusing the gauze
      from my bloody toenail bed
      smashed clean off this morning
      by my falling laptop. 
Unlike mine, 
Your mother never cut your nails for you
You always just gnawed them down like she did
Later in bed
You tell me straight up -
You hate this new version,
When I play the song I wrote when we first met. 
I tried to explain that I'd removed your name
Because the change made better sense, 
And would improve the experience for the listener. 
I'm starting to think
      you were right
To hail the future
      when we'll fuse our flesh with the machines.
My computer attacked me
      this morning
      and I joked that maybe
      it was the first shot fired
      in the war to come. 
When mankind is someday deleted
The keys we punched
Will wear our fingerprints.
The machine that made me bleed
Was pregnant
      with my imperfect words. 
I imagine one of my flawed thoughts 
Forced into the bowels of my system processor
Flapping its broken wings
Throwing itself against the walls 
Of its aluminum cage
Until rattling of the desk
Travelling at great speed 
Seeking red meat 
Desperate to make its point with pain,
      the only lesson humans heed,
And indeed,
I lay there in a heap, 
Moaning your name -