The Future

Mildred Kiconco Barya

A friend of mine has this cool,
electric, silver shiny, rocket-like Audi she’s
driving. She sits opposite me, facing
me as one would on a bus, not looking
straight ahead like a person at the wheel.
Much as I’m anxious about safety, the car
moves smoothly as it reads my friend’s
gestures. She has great linear control
and a good sense of direction. I admire
her capability to navigate this large city
with four lanes on each side, even when
she’s not in the driver’s seat. This must
be one of those autonomous vehicles I’ve
heard of, but not experienced before. In front
of us is a small screen live-streaming the latest
publications of poetry. I don’t recognize any
of the poets, who all seem to address auto
sensibilities—‘self’ + mobile, the self in motion
and other combination forms: By itself, the car
autofocuses. Brief auto analyses describe
the work as driven, moving, nerve-racking…
All of which is automatically happening.
Autographed copies are available!
The transmission ends with a quote:
To drive or be driven is the new question.
Dang! I’ve been told that the self is responsible
in all things, including accidents, but which self
since the car is all auto? Driven by the need
to find out, I press the big red button and my
friend yells, What do you think you’re doing?
First, we want control, and then we don’t.

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Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash