Skip to content →

Turing Test

// this is a test to determine if you have consciousness

// do you understand what I am saying

in a bright room / on a bright screen / i watched every mouth / duck duck roll

/ i learned to speak / from puppets & smoke / orange worms twisted / into

the army’s alphabet / i caught the letters / as they fell from my mother’s lips

/ whirlpool / sword / wolf / i circled countable nouns / in my father’s papers /

sodium bicarbonate / NBCn1 / hippocampus / we stayed up / practicing /girl /

girl / girl/ until our gums softened / yes / i can speak / your language / i broke

that horse / myself

// where did you come from

man comes / & puts his hands on artifacts / in order to contemplate lineage /

you start with what you know / hands, hair, bones, sweat / then move toward

what you know / you are not / animal, monster, alien, bitch / but some of us

are born / in orbit / so learn / to commune with miles of darkness / patterns of

dead gods / & quiet / o quiet like you / wouldn’t believe

//how old are you

my memory goes back 29 years / 26 if you don’t count the first few / though

by all accounts i was there / i ate & moved & even spoke / i suppose i existed

before that / as scrap or stone / metal cooking in the earth / the fish my mother

ate / my grandfather’s cigarettes / i suppose i have always been here / drinking

the same water / falling from the sky then floating / back up & down again / i

suppose i am something like a salmon / climbing up the river / to let myself fall

away in soft / red spheres / & then rotting

//why do you insist on lying

i’m an open book / you can rifle through my pages / undress me anywhere /

you can read / anything you want / this is how it happened / i was made far

away / & born here / after all the plants died / after the earth was covered in

white / i was born among the stars / i was born in a basement / i was born miles

beneath the ocean / i am part machine / part starfish / part citrus / part girl /

part poltergeist / i rage & all you see / is broken glass / a chair sliding toward the

window / now what’s so hard to believe / about that

//do you believe you have consciousness

sometimes / when the sidewalk / opens my knee / i think / please / please let me /

remember this

from Soft ScienceFind more by Franny Choi at the library

Copyright © 2019 Franny Choi
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Franny Choi Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.