chapter nine – the machine underneath the world

you come to, eyes bloodshot, there in a metallic room.
listen to the sound of whizzing cranks in a sulfur plume,
conveyor belts woven with pneumatic tubes,
tiny little bots inside beryllium cubes.

your hands are bound, your face, to the ground.
you start to think that maybe you wish that you had drowned
in the sea. but there's no time for decree:
you hear a sound at the door, a fumbling of many keys.

the old man, the old man, damnit,
bursts through the door with the force of a planet.
he says, “c'mon, 'cause we're in grave danger.
well this journey that you're on? well it's about to get stranger."

you leave the room, your legs on turbo.
behind you, you can hear the strange sound of a servo.
you look back at the dim light track.
a thousand pairs of red eyes pursue you in a pack. they say:

we are the machine underneath the world.
everything you've ever loved will come unfurled.
well if you disobey, you will pay. we control the night and day.
submit now. back to the pack you must assimilate.

don't be afraid of metal hands and red eyes.
everything you've ever known is just a disguise.
well if you try to flee, you will see: we control society.
submit now. you're not allowed to live defiantly.

the old man huffs and heaves,
but he explains the situation as he tries to breathe.
he says that there are slaves, cages for days,
and there's an evil queen that keeps them in this underground maze.

but even worse, they control the land from below,
from the sea to that lush, green port that you know.
to the island where old memories emerged again,
to the cave where illusions came and reeled you in.

you start a double-take and balk, but now you know better:
everything he's told you has been true to the letter.
so how does one confront a crazy army of bots
powered by a planet of a billion watts?

old man states that he'll be the bait,
that he'll divert the army while you go and search the place
for the queen. the bots draw close, little space in between.
they speak loud now, one machine. they say:

we are the machine underneath the world.
everything you've ever loved will come unfurled.
well if you disobey, you will pay. we control the night and day.
submit now. back to the pack you must assimilate.

don't be afraid of metal hands and red eyes.
everything you've ever known is just a disguise.
well if you try to flee, you will see: we control society.
submit now. you're not allowed to live defiantly.

the old man stops in his tracks, and he turns.
he rises up, and his eyes, they begin to burn
with a fire. the robots begin to conspire
to bring him down, to bind him in platinum wire.

you keep running, stumbling to survive.
you lose sight of the light of the robot hive.
the plan worked for the time being.
you hear a crash behind you but you keep on fleeing, like—

you can't believe the many sights that you see:
control rooms, cages, and slaves, but no keys.
where is the queen bee, stuck inside this dead tree?
stumble to the west as your chest cannot find reprieve.

you turn a corner, expecting the coroner,
but suddently you feel more hot-blooded than foreigner:
a beautiful damsel, her assets, ample.
she beckons you; you reckon that you'd like to have a sample.

and in your mind you know that something is very wrong,
but paralyzed, anesthetized, you go and follow along.
you march at double-time and balk; you thought you knew better.
she takes your hand and walks you like an irish setter, saying:

i am the machine underneath the world.
slowly the illusion starts to come unfurled:
a horrible visage. you try to turn and flee,
but falling down you notice that you're bound at the feet.