Linette Reeman (they/them pronouns) is an Aries from the Jersey Shore, so they're not really sure what you mean by "speed limit." They are obtaining their B.A. in History from Rowan University, were recently nominated for Pushcart Prizes by Crab Fat Magazine and Rising Phoenix Press, are part of the Philadelphia Fuze Poetry Slam collective, and in their spare time, occasionally sleep a full eight hours.
December 21, 2016
After Donald Trump is Elected President, Alan Turing Calls Me Crying
Here is what you need to know:
1. Alan Turing cracked the Nazi Enigma Code,
a. helping the Allies defeat the Germans in WWII,
b. before undergoing chemical castration for the crime of
being homosexual in 1950s England.
2. Between the two of us, we have enough knives to open
a sloppy eatery,
but Alan Turing wants to buy a gun.
His voice on the phone is smaller than
a split atom. He asks me if I’ve seen
the news. I say no, I live in
South Jersey; I am watching it
live. My chemistry professor
asks a class full of cyanide skin
why we are being so quiet and
no one answers for fear our throats
will miscarry some half-dead
truth. I mean last month
a customer praised the New
Hitler's honest tongue and I
was silent then too for I assumed
I will always wake up alive and thus
will need to keep a job to return to
and I do not tell Alan Turing to
not buy a gun. Instead, I ask if
I can be the first skull its mouth
feeds an ending into and Alan Turing
tells me to fuck off for trying to die
as though the protest does not need
as many bodies as a scream can
pack itself into. I mean only that
my being transgender means
anyone who I've ever woken up
tangled with is now a flight risk
in that they could disappear —
How everyone forgets how
Jewish I look until, at the first
party, when the cops came,
I Anne-Franked into the attic
so easily everyone assumed
it must be hereditary. I mean
between the two of us,
Alan Turing and I have
flooded the phone-line
crying. He tells me he regrets
conflating intelligence with
progress — how hate makes
machines of humanity —
hive-minds us stampede —
how technology is only as
revolutionary as the people
operating it, or, I am only as
brave as the people who
love me back. How the first
printing presses produced both
arrest warrants and safe-house
notices and that, too, was
technology enough to congregate.
Alan Turing breathes wetly
into my ear. He wants to know
what I'm wearing. Asks if it's
shatter-proof. I say no,
skin is just skin,
and he tells me to go change.
On the other side of the phone
I hear something metal / shudder.
As someone who is studying history, I am really cognizant of the ways in which people attempt to distance the present from the past. The person who introduced me to Alan Turing began by telling me about the Turing Test, in which computers are given a series of questions to determine whether or not they would be passable humans, i.e. whether or not they are artificially "intelligent," then led me through a discussion as though I was the machine being tested to determine that I am, in fact, human (I passed, in case you're wondering). The Turing Test is still in use as the premier venture for students of artificial intelligence, but World War II, whose length Alan Turing decreased significantly because of his work on the Enigma Code, is connotatively viewed as a "long time ago." 1954, the year in which Alan Turing died as a result of chemical castration, the punishment for being convicted of "sodomy," is only a year before my father was born in the same country as Turing died in. I mean only that I hear people argue that there is no way Trump will be as bad as he aggrandizes. That common sense will win out in the end. The process of studying history as a marginalized person is very strange. Last month at a rally in Philadelphia a cop threatened me with his taser, and unarmed water protectors at Standing Rock are sprayed with water-cannons in below freezing weather, and another trans girl dies and no one except her friends know her name, and the other people in my major believe that we will survive this, how cool it will be to read about these years in a future textbook. So Alan Turing time-machines out of a poem and speaks in my voice and warns everyone that complacency breeds genocide. They will keep killing us as long as they are allowed to. Even if you literally fucking solve World War II, they will still kill you for being a faggot. And I want to arrive in the future holding hands with everyone I love. Thank you for reading.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
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