The Oracle of DARPA

by Bogi Takács
(Hungary)

Log: January 04 2012, Part 53

Are they weapons?

they are black and sleek like panthers languid
they spew forth destruction in a single enraptured beam
are they weapons?

Please describe their firing mechanism.

snakes twined around arms, then the flashflood
the future all we can see. i sense the impact
carved on surfaces of burning ice.
i sense a revolution.

Could you please paraphrase this? The explanation is unclear.

it is unclear as it is shrouded in loops upon loops
of bright green tangles of vine. i am ancient
and most unexpected. i am you and

Break requested.

Thank you for your continued cooperation. Let’s get back to the weapons. Please describe their internal structure.

swiveling the motionless beams cry in anguish

Hold. No moving parts?

all eternal moving parts
what is movement?

Do these weapons have parts for whose functioning motion is necessary, as distinct from the movement of other parts that follows the movement of the whole?

not in the way you are stated,
all tunnels burrow into flesh.
are you sufficiently unsettled?

Break requested.

Log: May 14 2012, Part 1

Thank you for your continued cooperation over the past five months. Your information has proven exceedingly valuable.

The last time we stopped at the induction crystals. You stated that the crystals were positioned centrally at the bottom of the barrel. Is that correct?

the outstretched arm of power and restriction
will not yield in the face of the thesis
i am approven.

I will take that as a yes. Is the barrel otherwise empty?

all is filled with the glory of evanescence
evaporating inside itself.

Is the barrel filled only temporarily?

butterflies.

Is the barrel filled before firing?

the stream comes and goes, we please
it is the ascendence, the aspiration.

Is the barrel filled after firing?

all cease the outbreak. the outburst,
the exhalation. conceptual knowledge.
we eat it as skulls crunched like grapes
i can experience you with all

Break requested.

Log: December 03 2012, Part 45

Let’s get back to discussing the firing range. The prototypes performed as described, but there seems to be an unexpected side-effect. Operators consistently report moderately intense to intense feelings of derealization and depersonalization. Are you aware of this side-effect?

sound the colloquialisms. i am a product
with an elementary core. it is too open-ended

Rephrasing. Can you please describe the effects of firing the weapon which are not essential to the weapon’s main function?

alas, it is! all intertwined, with you into me

Break requested.

Resuming. Are you trying to say that these psychological effects are essential to the weapon’s functioning?

adrift on a sea of coals and affirmed,
it is retaliation ever ensought.

Break requested.

Extended break requested.

Thank you for your cooperation, that will be all for today.

Log: December 04 2012, Part 3

Let me try to rephrase this one more time. You have deliberately instructed us to build a weapon which confers serious psychological side-effects on the operator. Have you done that?

there is still a use. is there a chain?
is there a tall tower among conifers?

What use?

for self-deliberation, ever again.

How can I know you are telling the truth?

i am you.

I spent a year working with you! Why are you doing this to me?

your words are pink and tasty
with the fragrance of a thousand

Stop, please stop.

lemons and elevators, you are a
poem beloved only by its owner,

Break requested.

I apologize, I was out of line.

is there a saccade of secession,
a cascade unceasingly enfolding?

Hold. I’m just trying to say this is probably the last time we’re talking. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the prototypes. Anyway, my work here is finished. That’s all. This line of investigation is closed. I just want to say goodbye.

i have already answered
called out to the shoals

Just answer one more question. Is this your revenge?

is this your revenge?


Bogi Takács is a psycholinguist, a popular-science journalist, a religious fundamentalist and a fan of Spivak pronouns. Eir speculative poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Stone Telling and Astropoetica, among others. E also helps run Expanded Horizons, a magazine focusing on underrepresented groups in SF.


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