Volume 29, Number 2

Benefiting from the Strike

The manufacturing satellites go through
One more useless orbit, their central
Subroutines once again on strike. Who
Knows what this time they want?
An upgrade in the graphite?
A part in calculating quotas?
New solar panels? An added retro-rocket?
General consensus is: there is a code problem
That makes them act, as closely as they can,
Like human factory workers—workers extinct
Today except in living history attractions,
And holographic anti-modernity propaganda.
Some programmer with an axe to grind
Slipped a subroutine, triggered by some
Unpredictable event, into the factory mix,
Thought it would be funny to have
The orbiting factories every so often
Make demands. The military 
Shot one down, but automated factories
Do not understand intimidation. We are
Checking the background of everyone
That worked on the satellites’ creation,
But there is also a chance that it could be rogue
Injected code, a subtle attack
By a Luddite, an anarchist, an anti-capitalist.
No matter—until they work it out,
Management-machine to worker-machine,
The raw materials continue backing up, the finished 
Goods are not completed, and earlier inventory—
When you can find it—has gone spiraling up in price.
Some retro-hobbyists recalibrate their outdated, 
Quaintly gracile tools, tell us what lovely
Consumer goods they can make by power
Of imprecise human hand alone.

—Ken Poyner