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Of Machines and Men

2024 #200

By Matthew FrommPublished 3 months ago 2 min read
Runner-Up in #200 Challenge
Of Machines and Men
Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash

I have no goals for 2024

Ahh, you recoil

I already feel it,

as I pen these words


Does that thought offend you?

Perhaps you think

Without goals

A seeping void,

Production’s maw,

Opens its jaws

Without “x” stories

Or “y” words

Every day

What are you doing?

Do you even care?

How can you climb the ladder?

If you don’t monitor

Down to the read?

Down to the keystroke?


This notion, I reject.

I’m no algorithm.

I’m no bot.

Today, I rebel

Today, I throw my goals out the window

I throw my plans in the bin

Today, I will sip my coffee

I will read my book

I will walk my dog

I will admire, lovingly,

The resilience of the evergreens

As the snow outside recedes

Their moment of reprieve,

Before the winds of winter howl again.

Today, I will find peace

In the spaces in between

each note, and ping, and buzzing ring.


I’ll pick up my pen,

(should the mood strike)


I’ll care about the ladder

Tomorrow perhaps,

I’ll adhere methodology

To algorithms

To metrics

To a mechanical personality

But today,

I choose my whimsicality


I choose my humanity.


Seeing as I need to hit a word threshold to submit this to the challenge, I will now ramble here. You have made this bed, Vocal, and now a poor moderator must sit through this dissertation. I pity thee.

I thought about not doing this, as, in many ways, it goes against the spirit of the piece (but so do word counts, so...think on that Vocal).

For all of you who have really solid goals for this year, and there are a lot of you, know I will be cheering you on! I have tried in the past, and it always makes writing feel like a job for me. I spend enough energy on the day job. I do not want to get done working one job to work another. Sure, maybe it is my dream job to sit and write novels full-time, but right now, it is my escape. Every time it tip-toes into the chore realm, I feel my creativity shoot out the window. Maybe the thought of writing is more intoxicating to me than actually putting words on paper, and maybe there is nothing wrong with that. Is it any different than retreating into a new book from our favorite author? I'm not sure, and I promised you rambling. You can't say I don't pay off my promises. With that wonderfully terrible double negative, I'll go back to watching the grass grow. Good luck to everyone in 2024! I hope to read many more top stories about one and all crushing their goals.



If you've enjoyed this, please leave a like and an insight below. If you really enjoyed this, tips to fuel my coffee addiction are always appreciated. All formatting is designed for desktops. All my works can be found below:

performance poetryStream of Consciousnesssocial commentaryslam poetryProseMental HealthinspirationalFree VerseFor Funart

About the Creator

Matthew Fromm

Full-time nerd, history enthusiast, and proprietor of random knowledge. The best way to find your perfect story is to make it yourself.

Here there be dragons, and knights, and castles, and quests for entities not wished to be found.

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Comments (22)

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  • Patrick M. Ohanaabout a month ago

    Word counts can be a travesty, but if the resulting piece is poignant enough, and riveting, it's easier to swallow. Congrats on a great piece : )

  • Catherine Dorian2 months ago

    Matthew, your commitment to finding peace "In the spaces between / each note, and ping, and buzzing ring" conjures in me this disturbance I've lately been feeling toward the intersection of art and social media. I'm sensing this emerging principle that if we want to be writers, we need to produce constantly and post often. If we want writing to one day be our job, we need to treat it like a side hustle now. Writers need to write. But I'd personally rather produce quality pieces out of time and careful contemplation. I'd rather continue to engage in the practices -- stillness, silent walks, reading, thinking, conversations, noticing finite details -- that nourish the writing mind. To me, that's writing every day, even if it's not putting pen to page. Let's not let the swiftness of social media poison the art that we're trying to make. Thank you for this. Congratulations also on earning a runner-up!

  • Thank you for the tip whoever that was!

  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    You thumbed your nose at the beast, and he gave you a medal for it! Congrats! I tried this for the new year resolution challenge a few years back, and fell flat on my arrrr... bottom! 😁

  • Yusuf Alam2 months ago


  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    👏👏👏 The Rebel!!! You stood your ground, and it paid off. Many congrats to you, Matt!

  • Grz Colm2 months ago

    Congrats Matthew! Excellent poem and I liked how you mentioned having something feel like a job crushes creativity! 😊

  • Wooohooooo congratulations on your win! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    So glad this was a winner, this was my favourite.

  • D.K. Shepard2 months ago

    Enjoyed the poem and the ramblings! Congrats!

  • Jazzy 2 months ago

    Love that you placed! Congrats!

  • Mackenzie Davis2 months ago

    Congratulations on placing, Matthew!! I love this take on the challenge. This bit was so cool: "Tomorrow perhaps, I’ll adhere methodology To algorithms To metrics To a mechanical personality But today, I choose my whimsicality Today, I choose my humanity." I often find it difficult to balance the feeling of writing as a challenge and writing as a chore; it should be challenging to grow in new writing skills, but if it feels like a chore...that's different. Sometimes the latter bleeds back into the former, and I lose the ability to distinguish it. Then I take a break, reorient what I'm doing, and I find the fun in the challenge again. You're right: creativity dwindles down to nothing when it becomes an obligation. And you're not a bot! I only want to read pieces that contain that joy anyway. You can tell when it's mechanized.

  • Joe O’Connor2 months ago

    Love the honesty and the refusal to let something creative become a “must-do”, especially with all the time we spend on our screens already. The bit about today is a great way of looking at it- one at a time!

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    This is great. I loved it. I also agree, when it starts to feel like a job, my inspiration calls in sick.

  • Hannah Moore3 months ago

    Absolutely fucking love this.

  • Cyrus3 months ago

    Great work!

  • Xine Segalas3 months ago

    Bravo! Loved it.

  • D. J. Reddall3 months ago

    Bold iconoclasm is always admirable.

  • Addison M3 months ago

    All my yes. I feel this. Productions maw, opens its jaw. Nicely encapsulates.

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    An escape sounds good to me!!! Well done!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Gail Wylie3 months ago

    loved it - especially when you speak of having to ramble on.....my problem too - how do I add more words to this??

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