Anti-Poem

I
You confess you cannot understand his poems. They seem to say something else, and if ever you feel you’ve pinned them down…Are they like a tiger you can’t wrestle with, lest you be devoured by it. Or a bird, once caged, that dies slowly, slowly in your hands. The whole task seems tedious, pathetic. Why are so-called poetic truths difficult to track down? Does it take some arcane skill to become a hunter? Why are these gremlins so elusive? Does God play favorites? (All temporal religions promise salvation for all; In Nicaragua everybody is a poet.)

Is obscurity – the very trick that makes them beyond reach, almost mystical – merely a game laid-out to trap you? Is this fair?

The truth is, he says, if you can’t make something out of a poem, then that’s it: Somebody is faking it. He hides behind the screen of words what is obvious – he’s jiving, he himself is at a loss for whatever it is he deems as truth. After all, he’ll be committing a bigger crime if in the midst of violence, suffering & death, he claims to be happy, he doesn’t care. He only hears the beating of his heart. His own self is all he’s got; He prefers to live in a vacuum. Is it better than postulating he’s in rhyme with the universe; that he’s speaking on behalf of mankind?

So there’s a betrayal in all the poems he has written?

Of course. Poets love to show off, that they suffer for all creatures of the world. That their skin is membrane-thin, vibrating like a tympanum whenever the world trembles. Whenever they silently grip themselves from that sudden tremor of the heart.

Yup, poets are calculating merchants trading on sentiments. Once you read a sad poem just think: A ghost is pulling your legs. It’s not real.

II
Jack Nicholson asks: Can you handle the truth? Can you suffer the frank & transparent brutality of it, the exhilaratingness & loathsomeness of it? The mind can only strike a balance between heaven & hell; It cannot withstand the ultimate of ecstasy or despair. You either look the Medusa in the face (the heroism of it) or freeze to stone (the ignominy of it) in the aftermath.

If truth be known, can we persist on our customary way? Is a complete makeover possible? If we can handle the onus of truth, then we can change our lives, not according to pragmatic logic but in the profound mode of the intuitive wages of contra-logic: We shall then leave our lovers, vanish in the woods, or spend the rest of our lives – smugly – in an asylum. We may suddenly take charge of what we have always failed to do. That is, assault the ramparts of the hegemonic order, there’s always hell to pay. Maybe that’s how the revolution will happen, if we can handle the truth.

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