Juhana Vähänen

Alan Turing

my name is Alan Turing     I’m 14

an albatross is circling me about 2000 meters

in the air     I do not know who it is that I remind people of

my mother reminds me to tie my shoelaces

the world is made up of an infinite number of responsibilities

and stupidities     my father’s pipe reminds me

of the twists and turns of language     the things we understand

plants grow towards light     I grow

towards light     plants twist and turn     I twist and turn

ties curl around the necks of the innocent     the world


my name is Alan | Turing      I’m 21

it’s a sacred number     I am sacred

the figures on my tie are alive     I’ve got a miniature

globe in the pocket of my jacket     I can see everything

from the top of my pillar     I stand there like a mad

upward pointing needle     the final truth

is that there is no     I do not know what the final

truth is     wine is for the stupid

it numbs the language it numbs the mind though it’s only needed

for imitation the language is but a foolish game

like everything else that is messed up

I don’t like dogs     I don’t like people other than myself

my parents are not people      they’re part of something

higher     they do not exist

frozen plants reveal their veins     my room

is the home of sunlight     my room my books my

diagrams they’re in my mind     mind is everything and brains

I live for the brain     the brain is me and I‘m the brain

numbers are beautiful letters     I am

my name is Alan Turing     I’m 28

I’ve seen a woman     this is how it is

in a bookstore     too bad I’m not a woman

not that it has any meaning

I rot apples in a vase     the slim faces of choir boys

the cloister’s white-washed walls tiled mosaic

hair fractures     the meaning of everything

perhaps to borrow an umbrella to escape

from life     the rain     the shape of the seed is the shape of an eye

the shape of the eye is the base of everything      deep sighs

make up the world     the world crumbles like a house of cards

and everything blows up in pieces the eye explodes and the vitreous body oozes

on the beautiful face     sí     on your beautiful face

sí     logic is a mirror     mirrors are sick     the sick are pleasant

I can see into the future and it does not please me

although I am     ten feet tall     oh I don’t want to forget

about the world that has created me

I want to forget time

my name is Alan Turing     I’m 35

sí I’ve got an acoustic memory it

on the top of the pillar I’m Simon and they don’t

it doesn’t please them     the figures they’re all flowing

in the deserts a rat kneels on the altar     an acoustic

rat with its articulate tail and     intelligent machines

wanting to be rats that     that is a thought that

is a machine     I don’t like people other than

imitating rats streaked ruins sighing barn owls

the guillotine soughing of their wings above the book 9 in the graves me

the echo chambers of the beak the figures flow and all

the sea part chess mystery the rook’s laws have only one

meaning     that is everything that is a machine that is a thought

that is a machine that is a thought

my name is alan turing     I’m 42 and

the falcons’ eyes are covered like

both sides of the face clouded melting

into each other molding strips of skin ragged

the smoky veil of papyrus reeds     the falcon’s

cry is my cry spreading everywhere like

a swarm of insects sets of fragments enormous schools of whales

the cluster collages of ragtime piano figure

abstractions float points of vision my machine memories

code-breaking stage jolting turn perception action thought

the falcon’s eyeballs world figures figure memories

an acoustic screaming arrow apples of an eye

united acoustic bindings sí

                                                                translated by Karri Kokko

Juhana Vähänen is an editor of Tuli&Savu, a Finnish poetry magazine. His first published book of poems, Cantorin pölyä (Cantor Dust), was published in 2005. His primary area of research is Finnish-Swedish modernist poetry. He maintains a poetry blog, BigSur ja Surreal.

Karri Kokko is the poetry editor of Parnasso, a mainstream Finnish literary magazine. His first published book of poetry, Uno Boy, appeared in 1982. After a silence of more than twenty years, his published works now include Varjofinlandia (Shadow Finland), Beeasily (with harry k stammer), and Ilmaisin asiani (Expressing My Thing Free of Charge), a selection of poetry from his blog, Muisti|kirja.

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