Asimo, performing to adoring sighs, like a communal child
You carried out a tray of drinks, trod down steps
And ran—actually ran

You danced with the guest, soulless,
But everyone agreed you outdid her with your mechanical moves
Programmed to seem servile, dancing on screen

Running across the stage while the audience oohs
Delighted, letting themselves play the proud parents
The presenter even called you He

What I see is how fast you can run
And how those hands are so easily swapped for guns, or needles,
Or spray, or voltage—how long are you going to stay four-foot-three?

Your dance is the decoy, the wooden horse
They cheer and let you in, suppose you will be their pet
And dance all day carrying trays

Of course they say you’ll do the jobs we don’t want
As if a million-dollar-man like you will ever be wasted cleaning loos
Or down an aluminium mine

Or picking over smouldering plastic
To find pieces of re-useable metal
Like our children do

Your act is faultless, your cracks invisible
I watch and feel low-level dread, a crawling tension not just in my head
But tangling round my stomach and chest

And you’re hiding something we can’t see yet
All these antics for our amusement, like we’re fed up of humans
Who can do what you do but so much better

Even my toddler dances better than you
Because she hears, and feels, and is moved by music
And it’s not a programmed response but a rush in her ears

I hate it but I ring with fear—emotions I have, you wouldn’t know—
I also have imagination; like I find you, shut down in a box maybe
And smash you with some heavy thing left nearby accidentally

Or clip you and pull out your wires, with pliers which I’ve had the foresight to bring
Or just drive straight into you, goose-stepping down the street
In the future when you don’t dance anymore

I can feel these things, my pet, and an awful lot more
What is it you do again when you’re not playing the puppet
Distracting everyone on prime time TV?