The irony of Twitter bots, and a poem about RoboCop

I finally watched RoboCop last night. I know, I know, I should have seen it long ago, but the film was so 80’s in its gratuitousness violence and depictions of cruelty, I don’t think I could have handled the movie at a younger age. (My empathy levels when I am not sober are off the charts…and I am anyone.)

If it wasn’t for the occasional punchy joke, experimental depictions of masculinity and futuristic metaphors, I would have abandoned the film this time too. But I didn’t, and when it ended, I sat in the dark imagining the satisfaction growing inside what remained of the man-machine Murphy.  The movie made me laugh, made me cry, and before the credits rolled, made me nod with a sense of peace.

Before I watched the movie, I tweeted my intention to do so and a Twitter robot programmed to tweet one quote from the film responded to me immediately.  (As if I ever doubted this movie was an important part of our cultural lexicon!)

I hadn’t started the film yet so I hadn’t viewed that line, but from the robotic actions, I knew this line was important and a  joke I was supposed to laugh at. You could say I was culturally obligated, if not socially programmed, to laugh at line now. (I admit, the line would have been way funnier if that bot didn’t tell me of it beforehand, but I can’t disparage the bot’s existence either, it being a cultural artifact at this point.)

Later I would come to appreciate the Twitter robot even more when characters within the movie used that line – which comes from a fake commercial – as a pop culture reference.  

Anyway… once I was done digesting the cinematic experience that is the 1987 film RoboCop, I set out to write a review. What came out was this poem that roughly follows the plot instead.

 

Murphy,

a man who wanted to please his son

gun toting, twirl on the finger

 

side holster, to mechanic

synapse practice

be a good cop,

 

runs in without backup

rash hero crime fighter

his partner knocked down, by a man with his pants down,

for peeking size, leftover pie

 

Murphy surrounded, outgunned and alone

blown to bits, bone splitting

screams and spurts, shock loss limbs

a scene burned into memory

gun to his head, a cackle

 

such evil, heart seizing

in the cruelty, the callous unhuman

blackout

 

even his saviors, his stitch-you-back-up-together

in white coats, so sterile

profit chasers, removed from space

legal tender

 

one woman

touched by his fate,

remembered the man and kissed his face

 

he had an arm in tact, skin nerve muscle and bone to feel

taken away by coated profit

his head remains, below more machine than life form

 

he is no longer a you but a thing owned, man made

we will remake you

municipal device

 

(yes, you are him, immersed now in the machine, in the scene)

 

static program start

blink

target type, aim mouth, mask the line

public good

implant the extract, memory

 

haunts you when you are sleeping

in a cage watched by cameras

your eye a camera

record device quiver

electrode, gender drone

 

me

more wipe

metal core

that last moment

re: REM

 

playback from when, before you were dead

the hatred that drives, then overrides

your blinking code

awake, you say your name

Murphy

 

explosive, dented by bullets

you step through streets, lone steady beat

you seek vengeance for a life destroyed

seen through glimpses in the heat

you are justice, masked in line

you are Murphy, back from the dead

 

faltering to the corporate code in your brain

in your core, an implanted fail safe to insure

panic alert, agency you wish, is not free

 

a larger robot than you, too, must you battle

besides the one in your head

animal to your human

 

your partner remembers who you are

brings you screw bolt drill bit

by bit, you put yourself back together again

 

you learn too, solo strength test

best but not the fittest

and in the end, you extract justice

outsmart the written missives in the LED

 

the board of directors recognizes what you were,

sees the face in you and not the product cop

a moment of voice,

cigar smile in stasis

 

Murphy,

a man who lost his kid hears a graying dad

compliment his gun

 

toting, twirl on the trigger

son

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