Jeannine Hall Gailey’s “The Robot Scientist’s Daughter [Medical Wonder]” is a poetical wonder exploring the human/machine nexus of expectation and fear, sickness and health.
The poem’s dramatic countdown begins with the second stanza, “The robot scientist’s daughter / knew what she had to do . . .” For a musical arrangement, this pivot suggested a change in tone, from the dissonant jazz chords of the first section to the more synthesized future body.
The piano notes are all derived from the original vocal. The vocal itself becomes synthesized (using the VocalSynth software plug-in) for the second half of the poem. The 112 beats per minute stemmed from Ableton Live’s analysis of the original vocal.
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter
was a bit confused. She started down a road
to medical wonder, sat under the machine’s lights,
but then tiptoed off on a paper trail,
looking for an island of cranes. She made a thousand
wishes, still she shed a blue glow
and everyone said how sickly. Her nails
made of plastic and paper mache, her heart’s
thump-thump three times fast. Her one kidney
curled inside her ribs, her blood trying to escape.
“Father” she screamed but he couldn’t save her.
The robot scientist’s daughter knew
what she had to do. With her own two hands
she built a new body, one that worked better
this time, silver and shiny and smooth
as mirrored glass. After all she’d been trained,
it was no less than was expected. She crawled inside
and adjusted the fit. This time, there will be no
stopping her. The curves are all impenetrable
and the precision of each drum-kit-beat keeps her in line.
She’s a soldier, a savior, a ship to bear prisoners into space.
–Jeannine Hall Gailey
Used by permission of the author.
Listen to the original audio of the poem here .
For more Jeannine Hall Gailey, visit her website.
Musical arrangement by Jr. James.