The Next Generation

In the United Federation of Planets 


  is not gone

In that Federation we still have memory   

  And it has not brought us down yet  

in the United Federation of Planets

we have abstracted away location

We know no place               

                   There is none. 

Where we once were, 

we have abstracted away language, 

   we have stripped off our zippers, 

we have found wisdom. 

And on the Starship

   swiftly a god         among men he walks consider                    it

   walks      commanding the ship voicewise    chainwise      anticipating

   counteraction, action the sweep of his stride.   This is Lt. Cmdr. Data. 

Let me remind you that he is trustworthy. Though gendered Data slick haired 

is stable. He is interface and rationale and execution. 

Let me remind you that we have beaten our televisions into agricultural implements. 

And to put this TV show in context: Let me remind you: Bursting forth 

like a time lapse flower: Comes the knowledge that this kingdom will come to us. 

We will abstract away hunger. There will be a season for every thing, 

time will turn each moment and bury it after. 

There will be a way through. There will be a number for every day, 

we will call to our gods still insistently but less urgently. 

We will hurt so much but pain will not be execrable. We will trust our machines to hold us, 

we will be able to afford to be careless of our genders, careless of our clothing, of our needs, 

we will perform the manners of the past and we will seek out new life and new civilizations 

and walk without location without appearance -- we will feel the counteraction 

swinging back to meet the action 

even as we are the action -- even unto the dusk aboard a starship, 

even through the night watch, the bent shoulders of hurting friends when we don’t know how to help them, 

even unto the return to Earth, the memory of what you were and the process by which you were changed, 

even unto the death of comrades children parents lovers, even forgiving, 

because if a MEASURABLE CHANGE has occurred then there is a beginning and an end, 

then somewhere somewhen we are certain of anything at all. 


                                            the cold dawn lurches over an alien world

                                I will lean my head on the chest of an android. Just for a moment.

          And then              we will see to the wounded.   

                              You may not know:

                   we have never been safe before.

    But in the 24th century morality will   burn

              like a warp core. 

How do you do it, Android? 

How, How to speak with steady voice, without pull to home or need for sex or need for anything to distract. 

How to follow rule, to stare economics down. 

How to find a path without place. 

How to insist upon what you don’t need, or want. 

How: an absurd ethics. How: search as though in need. 

How you changed everything, loose-limbed and striving 

    and clear-eyed ---- 

How can you live perfect, 

Data Why don’t you go to your quarters and just sit and stare?  

     Small wonder you have hoped to acquire our imperfections -- Data 

       your love

       is plain to see. 

  Lt. Cmdr. Data you have the bridge. 

Do us proud.