Saturday, June 16, 2012

Essay on Shame #15

My friend Darcie Dennigan wrote a poem called "You're an Embarrassment to the Void." The tenor of this poem is that any affirmation, any firm ground, any texture or pleasure or even interest, is a disgusting affront to ... well ... the absence of all of those things. A void is the absence of all things, but some things, Darcie suggests, are worse for it than others, more repulsive to total ending and the aftermath of dissolution. She writes, "Go ahead and add your own tale of the void's shame here," and leaves some blank lines for us to do that.

I love thinking about and probing the physics of poems (and Darcie's poems give great physics), although I rarely do this publicly (see: fear of being wrong / putting my leg in a position that's not weird enough). The poem's language ("the void's shame") suggests that the void is embarrassed or ashamed on its own behalf, not embarrassed for anyone or anything in the way I sometimes get when I'm watching a really bad performance. If the void can feel shame, there must be a self there -- and a fragile, irritable self, since it's so easily shamed; if the void can feel shame, it must be able to do something, to do something wrong. Every time something exists, the void has failed. 

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