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Machines Like Us by Joshua R. Helms

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Machines Like Us by Joshua R. Helms

Helms - Machines Like Us - Final Cover.jpg
Helms - Machines Like Us - Final Cover.jpg

Machines Like Us by Joshua R. Helms


Publication Date: March 15, 2016
Paperback: 64 pages
ISBN: 978-1-938103-44-5




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Machines Like Us is part love story, part dreamscape, part exploration of self. For the characters (Speaker, Boy, and Historian), love is dangerous, disorienting, self-erasing. To understand themselves as individuals, they must investigate the boundaries separating each from the other.

Boy finds a spot beneath a tree & stretches out
taking up half of the forest floor. Historian & I
have to keep stepping over Boy’s limbs & sometimes
we step into each other, a pile of Boy & Historian & me. 

Over the course of the collection, the three struggle to tether and untether. They continuously disturb and upend, externally and internally. They are terrified to be with and without each other. The resulting horror—blood, broken bodies, decomposition—is a landscape, both natural and unnatural, of their glorious failure. 


“A dark and deeply obsessive book. It is almost impossible to forget the three primary characters in this collection after witnessing their twisted and repetitive attempts to connect, after witnessing the fact they cannot separate acts of love from acts of harm.”

—C. Dale Young, author of The Second Person and Torn 

“Out of three hearts (Boy Heart, Historian Heart, and Poet Heart), Helms has woven a new poetics of vulnerability that tells the story of survival and lust, brutality and tenderness.”

—Sabrina Orah Mark, author of The Babies and Tsim Tsum 


Joshua R. Helms is Assistant Editor for Corium Magazine. Their work has appeared in various online journals, including alice blue review, DIAGRAM, Ghost Ocean Magazine, ILK Journal, PANK, and Word Riot, and various print journals, including Copper Nickel, Fairy Tale Review, Gertrude, New England Review, Phoebe, and Sonora Review. They live in Brattleboro, VT.