Woke-on Poetry

The sweat stood out on Ford Prefect's brow, and slid round the electrodes strapped to his temples. These were attached to a battery of cybernetic equipment—imagery intensifiers, rhythmic modulators, alliterative residulators and simile dumpers—all designed to heighten the experience of the poem and make sure that not a single nuance of the poet's thought was lost.

Arthur Dent sat and quivered. He had no idea what he was in for, but he knew that he hadn't liked anything that had happened so far and didn't think things were likely to change.

The Woke-on began to read—a fetid little passage of Their own devising.

"O Implied Other . . ." he began. Spasms wracked Ford's body—this was worse than even he'd been prepared for.

"? . . . your microaggressions are to Us / As transphobic racism assuming colonial Orientalism."

"Aaaaaaargggggvvvvv!" went Ford Prefect, wrenching his head back as lumps of pain thumped through it. He could dimly see beside him Arthur lolling and rolling in his seat. He clenched his teeth.

"We are going to sue you," continued the merciless Woke-on, "O rebel against the Imago DEI."

Their voice was rising to a horrible pitch of impassioned stridency. "And oust you from this Woke Studies department. / Or We will embarrass you by listing genitalia over and over, see if We don't."

"Nnnnoooonnnnneeee ooooofffff yyyyoooouuuuurrrr bbbbuuussssiiiiinnnneeeesssss!" cried Ford Prefect and threw one final spasm as the cybernetic enhancement of the last line caught him full blast across the temples. He went limp.