Four Machine Poems by Jackson Nieuwland

Fire Machine

The fire machine is a disposable cigarette lighter.
Yeah, I invented those

Earth Machine

The planet Earth is a machine

Water Machine

The water machine can manipulate water in any way. In any way. It can do such commonplace things as purify it or extract it from the surrounding air. On higher settings it can tear the water from a human body, leaving it dried out and dead. It can do even more astounding things. It can freeze entire worlds or shift their movement through space. When I first created it, it was the most powerful of my machines

Chaos Machine

The chaos machine is a broken machine. I had planned to build a sorting machine that would order all objects placed within it by any variable of the user’s choosing. That was what I had planned to do and that was what I had done. I built the machine and tested the machine and the machine worked perfectly.

The next evening however, I woke up and placed inside the sorting machine three of my older machines: the fire machine, the water machine, and the earth machine. I programmed the sorting machine to organise by sentimental value, from greatest to least. I went away and brushed my teeth. When I returned, I opened the sorting machine. My eyes popped. Inside were thirteen substances of varying colours that I was unable to determine the origin or chemical makeup of. I closed the machine and reset it to sort whatever these things were into alphabetical order. When I opened the machine it was empty. I closed it and set it to sort by age. I opened and came face to face with what appeared to be a clone of myself. I closed the machine.

The sorting machine did not work as a sorting machine. This was clear. Instead of tinkering with the machine and attempting to make it work as I had desired, I accepted it for what it was: a chaos machine. Each time the machine is opened it will contain a completely random assortment of objects. I donated the machine to MIT, thinking that it could be useful for probability experiments. So far they have not put it to that use. They are too busy trying to determine how the machine works. I pray that in their exploration of the machine that they do not turn it inside out

Profile: Jackson Nieuwland

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